Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co

As expected, the New Zealand government’s response to the IPCC’s Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change pays lip service to the science, while maintaining that NZ is doing all that can be expected. Climate change minister Tim Groser’s press release said that the IPCC report’s call for intentional cooperation meant that NZ is “on the right track in pressing for a binding international agreement on emissions beyond 2020” but failed to note the urgency explicit in the report.

Groser also repeated the government’s standard response when challenged on government inaction on climate policy:

“New Zealand is doing its fair share on climate change, taking into account our unique national circumstances, both to restrict our own emissions and support the global efforts needed to make the cuts that will limit warming.”

Groser’s response to the WG2 and WG3 reports so angered Pure Advantage founder Phillip Mills that he announced he would make a $125,000 donation to the Labour and Green parties. Mills, who has been working behind the scenes for the last five years, lobbying cabinet ministers and National MPs to build a business case for climate action and clean, green business growth, told the NZ Herald:

I’ve been trying impartially to deal with National. I’ve met with John Key around this a number of times … and really I held the hope that I and groups that I’ve been involved with would be able to get National to see sense.

NZ scientists who contributed to the IPCC reports were also critical of NZ’s perceived inaction. The Science Media Centre collated some of their responses.

Prof Ralph Sims, Sustainable Energy, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, WG3 lead author:

…each New Zealander is responsible for emitting around eight tonnes of carbon dioxide a year … we are now the fourth highest emitters per person in the world, behind Australia, the United States, and Canada. New Zealand has set a modest target to reduce our total greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent below the 1990 gross emission level in just six years time, yet no one knows how we will achieve this…

Bob Lloyd, Associate Professor and Director of Energy Studies, Physics Department, University of Otago:

in international climate change negotiations NZ is regarded as a particularly ‘tough’ negotiator. By ‘tough’ read ‘selfish’. … To get global buy-in NZ must act as a global leader in emissions reductions not a selfish backwater.

Prof Susan Krumdieck, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury:

There aren’t any responsible leaders, competent engineers, or sensible people who would suggest we should exceed safety limits. Who in the world would say that as a matter of convenience, we should push essential systems to collapse? There is also no way to mitigate the impacts of a catastrophic failure.

The only option now is for all responsible, competent and sensible people to demand action from engineers, planners and business leaders to change every system that produces and uses climate affecting materials so dramatically reduce the production and use of fossil fuels and reduce the emissions of other greenhouse gasses.

Tasked with these comments by Green climate spokesman Kennedy Graham, Groser’s response was the scientists should “stick to their knitting” and leave the decision-making to him. Such obvious contempt for expertise seems to be a hallmark of Groser and his colleagues: when the message is inconvenient, how much easier to belittle the messenger than to address the issue.

That’s the real problem: the heart of the National government, from John Key repeating Groser’s mantra at Question Time, to Steven Joyce’s blind spot on green business initiatives, simply cannot pay anything other than lip service to the evidence in the IPCC reports, because if they did they would be forced to recognise that they have their policy settings all wrong.

For Tim Groser, climate change is an international relations problem, to be solved by tough negotiation where New Zealand’s interests — as defined by Key & Co — are paramount. For John Key, climate change is a political problem. If the other side thinks it’s important, then by definition his party has to say it’s less important. Such is the nature of parliamentary party politics, as played by shallow people who don’t understand the breadth of the problem they are supposed to confront.

Of course, the climate problem is an international relations issue, and a domestic political issue, but those are just component parts of a far bigger and much more serious problem. The IPCC reports make it clear that we are already changing the climate, and that we’re currently on course for 3 to 4ºC of warming this century — well beyond any safe limit. Action to reduce emissions now will limit future damage, and be surprisingly affordable, but the window to act is closing fast.

What Key & Co do not appear to understand are the dire consequences of inaction. Nor do they appreciate what risk management means when you don’t know how bad things are really going to get. It might be expedient to punt the problem to future parliaments, while trying to save face in the here and now, but inaction is actively increasing the risk of future damage, and the costs of adapting to it. As Susan Krumdieck points out, “there is […] no way to mitigate the impacts of a catastrophic failure”.

So how do we persuade the present government to take its responsibilities seriously? One obvious route is via the ballot box, by making climate action a central issue in September’s general election and voting for parties with a commitment to urgent action. But there is another way, and one for which there may be some signs of a groundswell developing — and which will be the only route open if the National Party leads the next government.

The Wise Response group has delivered its petition to parliament, calling on the government to take climate action and green growth seriously. The Royal Society of NZ has also called for a change in direction towards a low emissions, green economy. With influential groups consistently knocking on the door, and with climate impacts in the news and increasingly undeniable, is it too much to hope that Key & Co might accept the need for urgent action and set NZ back on the right road?

[Update 17/4: Peter Griffin at Sciblogs fact checks Groser’s comments about Ralph Sims, and finds that the Minister was 100% wrong to suggest that Sims was “palpably wrong on multiple levels”.]

[Elvis. The other one.]

342 thoughts on “Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co”

  1. Let’s face it, the National party are a bunch of scientific illiterates and will not act to mitigate climate change – it’s totally against their belief systems. They have to pay lip service because of the probable backlash if they openly state they don’t accept scientific expertise. New Zealanders today may be apathetic, but most aren’t as gobsmackingly stupid as say the general population of the US, Canada and Australia – where large fractions of the population are proud to display their scientific ignorance. Excepting the NZ climate trolls on this blog, and maybe Gerry Brownlee, of course.

  2. I agree with the article and also the comments of Rob Painting. There may be another contributing reason for Nationals very watered down position on climate change as follows. National only have a slight majority, and are reliant on ACT, who are ardently opposed to both the science and the ETS.

    I believe it is quite possible ACT have made weakening the ETS and scepticism about the science of climate change a central plank of their continued support. One irresponsible, ignorant little party with 1% support in the polls is quite possibly the main stumbling block.

    1. ACT had it’s real influence on climate policy during Rodney Hide’s tenure, when he secured a “review” of the ETS that resulted in its effectiveness being marginalised. Given that ACT’s parliamentary future lies in a “cup of tea” with Key at some point, I think we can assume that if the Nats decided to stiffen their resolve on climate, ACT would go along with it.

      1. What do you say Gareth. We are making no progress in trying to work out why increased climate taxes and more renewables are good for NZ outside a global agreement. Maybe you can dedicate a post to the subject to make your case for change? Given this blog is always asking for change, it would be beneficial to your readers to understand why its required and what difference it will make. (no one seems to know at the moment)

  3. The main reason National will not move is because their main ideology is based on “small government”. The treasurer believes the market will solve everything. Laissez faire is the modus operandi – They are are a government in waiting and have been for the past 5 years sitting on the treasury benches and essentially doing nothing. For them to actually govern would upset their constituents (the multi-nationals)
    Good to see that some in the Media have actually got their head around this Brian Fallow for instance
    Hopefully with more articles like this in the coming weeks people might just start to wake up to the challenge ahead.

  4. National do appear to believe in small government / laissez faire, however even mainstream economics admits that free markets don’t self regulate effectively over environmental problems.National are actually flying in the face of mainstream economic theory.

    Sometimes you just need regulatory control, and it’s the same with the water purity issue. Free markets work well for some things, and not others and this is the reality. You cant bend reality into something it isn’t.

    John Key initially talked some real sense on climate change, but has clearly been overwhelmed by the denialist nonsense. However I sympathise as we are swamped with it.

  5. John Key has not denied anything. He is being pragmatic and sensible with our tax dollars and economy. Why on earth when we are already world leaders in renewable energy would we want to cripple our economy to build a few percent more capacity of windmills or introduce a carbon tax? Nobody cares what we do (not even the climate), as much as you think they will. We are best to continue with what we are doing until the world decides they want to act on climate change. Even though I am suspect of the science, I would not mind it if we were doing something as part of a global effort. I do not want to see NZ turn out like Spain and the rest of eco-crazed Europe with a stagnant economy and few job prospects (having made no difference to the climate or their emissions in the process) Keep up the good work National, thank god at least one party has some commonsense.

    1. “By there actions you shall know them” – Key’s actions and the actions of his so-call government are that of active denial. Their first actions in parliament were to trash the timid steps Labour had put in place to advance NZ towards reducing our already excessive GHG emissions (energy efficient light bulbs – remember them?, initiatives towards reduction of fossil fuel power plants, shower heads, so called “nanny state” regulations that would have had a down stream effect on reducing energy requirements in homes, but oh! no! because a few red necks wanted their 50 gallon a minute showers!) . You say were are not big emitters, but that is just one statistic. On the statistic that really matters, GHG per capita, we are the 5th most polluting country in the world. And yes it is pollution, GHG emissions from humans are causing Global warming that will result in catastrophic climate change if do nothing about it. Key knows this – he has been told many times by many different people. Yet he choses to do nothing. Furthermore, he actively promotes even more GHG emissions by allowing mining for coal and minerals we do not need, and the destruction of pristine forest parks his Minister for mining was ignorant about! Forests that could help sequester some of the emissions we NZers release.
      Sorry John but it is about time you removed your rose tined glasses and actually looked at what a pathetic bunch we now have as a so called government.

  6. The truth is NZ has nothing to gain by introducing a carbon tax. Australia has worked out how futile and costly such a tax is. The green jobs claim is a myth, we will have no impact on the climate and it will make every thing more expensive. The only possible gain is the kudos from other countries not prepared to do anything themselves. The lack of kudos we get for or excellent renewables effort puts even this in doubt though.

    1. On the evidence of your comments I would say you don’t know the truth for all your arguments are simply those of selfish.advantage rather than response to a planetary need – response-ability

    2. You have seen the recent polling from across the ditch?
      Seems like your hero “Tony the idiot” isn’t so popular after all… and maybe people are waking up to the fact that a Carbon tax was a good idea after all..
      Note: The Greens polling the highest they ever have – and remember it was the greens who forced Gillard to introduce what she said she wouldn’t – a Carbon Tax.

    3. Oh, garbage. Please don’t insult our intelligence with your uninformed assertions.

      The carbon tax is, in fact, a modest success. What actually happened is that a massive and well-funded scare campaign, whose chief propaganda nuggets you’re merely parroting, managed to convince some selfish-and-not-very-with-it-anyway people that the ‘Great Big New Tax’ was destroying the world as they knew it, oh, the humanity! Just like the Mining Tax, I mean, imagine if the actual mere owners of resources were allowed to reap the benefits of the boom?

      End result, we now have our most incompetent Federal Government, a veritable conclave of science (and reality) denying fools. Thank God for the overwhelming shadow that the mining industry and thinktanks like the IPA cast over this country, eh?

      Take your disinformation elsewhere, please.

  7. That is a poor argument. Acting now only serves to reduce NZ competitiveness while other countries do nothing. Assuming there is a global agreement we will all be adjusting at the same time so can compete fairly. I expect food prices will sky rocket which will help our transition. Acting too soon as Germany, Spain etc have shown only reduces their competitiveness. The other advantage of acting when the rest do is we will be using the same technology. Why risk trashing our countryside with windmills when better technology might be just around the corner. Do you have any real world examples of a carbon tax or windmills being good the people of that country? I suggest we have far more to loose than gain by acting alone.

    1. Acting in self interest is an even poorer argument. But then, around 2000 years ago today (good friday) we saw what happens to those who act on behalf of others.

        1. If we relied on your vision John nothing would be done – and by the way BC is largely an agricultural economy or were you unaware of that fact.
          As for the weeping of business – well what do you expect? When is it ever otherwise?

          1. “Today, the agriculture and food industry is a major contributor to the British Columbia economy. It generates over $1.5 billion at the farm gate, and over $11 billion in food retail sales. There are about 200,000 people employed directly or indirectly in British Columbia’s agri-food industry. It truly has come a long way since the early days of recorded agriculture last century.”

  8. John C, I don’t respond well to your simplistic assertions and cheap sophistry, or demeaning, emotive comments about windmills. Wind power in NZ receives few subsidies and has proven to be quite cost effective.

    NZ has numerous sustainable or renewable energy options and we are silly not to do this, and the government should be promoting it. For the government to allow more coal fired power is just silly free market worshipping, crackpot ideology lacking in commonsense.

  9. Ha! As soon as Bio takes a well earned holiday from spamming this site with the propaganda taken from the ACT party’s teleprompter, John C takes over to carry the torch for the dump and dumber brigade….

    Its always the same: indefensible assertions, stupid nonsense about wind energy and a complete ignorance about such small matters as the trillion dollar fossil fuel subsidies – yes, from tax dollars John C! – on top of a total denial of the seriousness that AGW poses for the planet.

    Taxing the emissions, or perhaps better the fuels at the point of import, which are responsible for the environmental catastrophe we are drifting into, would be a very sensible policy. Especially if the tax take was then invested into the cleaner alternatives which we must deploy anyway!

  10. And let’s hear from a Nobel Prize winning economist, shall we?:

    So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait.

    And isn’t it sad how many we see willing to devote their time to parroting spurious claims borne in ignorance, prejudice and vested interests? Wreckers…

  11. I know for a fact NZ doesn’t spend trillions on fossil fuel subsidies. Stop being so supprised John Key is not rushing to bring in taxes on fuel we largely can’t avoid using. It is economic suicide and will not change the climate in the slightest. There is no good argument for bringing in such a tax, as you have just shown by being unable to make one. This act at any cost talk you are spouting is why most NZs are waking up to this lunacy and rejecting it. (I will stand corrected if greens get a majority in the next election). Acting as part of a global agreement is the only sensible thing to do. I suspect that’s why it won’t be supported on this site.

  12. I said Europe.

    I am not the one who wants to force a futile tax on the population. You need to provide evidence we have something to gain from doing this or we may as well keep the status quo. Balls in your court not mine Rob.

    1. Denmark and Germany have some of the most expensive electricity in the world, and the highest penetrations of renewables.

      Also, their CO2 emissions are still rising.

      This suggests that renewables are both expensive and ineffective and reducing emissions. Banks love them because they produce instability to the spot market. This is something that Enron forced on the us market, but wind and solar just do it all by themselves.

          1. Oh for God’s sake andy! The graph (as supplied by the UN – and THEY should know) is perfectly clear! They show that for both the countries you claim to have had rising GHG emissions – that for the past decade at least the opposite is the case, and they have been DECREASING! What more can you say!!
            If you have to rely on The Daily Tripe for your mythology and daily spin, I feel sorry for you.

  13. Note away Rob, I’m not trying to change the current system so don’t need to prove anything.

    Will this pointless tax ruin our economy? Probably not, that is an exaggeration. But any economist will tell you taxing energy will make products more expensive, expensive products sell less, this will mean less money in the pockets of NZers. Is this difficult to understand for some reason?

  14. Let’s hear the reasons for acting on climate change when the most of the rest of the world are sitting on their hands. So you are sitting down with John Key having a nice cup of tea and you say……

    1. So you are sitting down with John Key

      See my first comment in this thread. Key and his party are ideologues. Not only are they scientifically illiterate, they steadfastly choose to remain that way. You can’t reason a person out of a position they never reasoned themselves into in the first place.

      Eventually these ignoramuses will be gone, and we’ll begin to clean up the mess. Shame about all the suffering that could have been avoided though.

  15. Note away Rob, I’m not trying to change the current system so don’t need to prove anything.

    Of course not. If you had reputable evidence to back up your claim you would provide a link. That you refuse to merely reinforces to lurkers that your statements are generally worthless.

  16. That effort goes along way to explaining why nothing is about to change any time soon.

    You guys are demanding action, where is the logic behind the demands? Why should we act before the rest of the world?

    1. What, like nobody’s bloody acting while you simultaneously whine about the Australian Carbon Tax and European renewables schemes? Duh!

      You’re becoming increasingly strident and annoying. Less angry-ant hand-waving and more data would be a start… though one really doesn’t expect much from someone more concerned about his hip-pocket than posterity.

        1. Ah, another devotee of the Homer Simpson school of philosophy:’Can’t somebody else do it?’

          And how about their families and the families after that, andy? Will they have much cause to thank either of you? I rather doubt it…

          So let’s make that how selfish and shortsighted.

          (Goldman Sachs? Give me a freaking break! Denier conspiracy theories get more absurd every day.)

            1. I don’t find that terribly persuasive. I’m sure that if you took any major global investment bank you could find senior political figures around the world with close ties. I wonder what Merrill Lynch’s network would look like…

            2. I already knew that Goldman Sachs propped-up and then bet against Greece, for example. Woop-de-doo. Yes some of them ought to be in gaol, but that’s how Capitalism currently works. Being a fan, perhaps you could do something about it?

              The real point is; supporting carbon taxes and windfarms makes one whit of difference to all this how?

              Remember, you brought it up…

            3. Supporting wind farms and carbon taxes?
              Both are massive taxpayer ripoffs that benefit the large banks and impoverish the public, that’s how

            4. Boy, talk about floundering; what a freaking ridiculous assertion! You’re here fighting on behalf of Exxon, the coal industry and the Kochs, for Chrissakes. For free! Fool that you are… How many subsidies do these folks get from taxpayers?

              I mean, come on, dopey, pony up – how does a windfarm or a Carbon Tax enrich the large banks? Particularly Goldman Sachs. Once more, you brought this up; your looking silly is your own responsibility.

              And, again, even if your ludicrous assertions were true it would only make them just about on-par with everything else in contemporary capitalism!

            5. You’re here fighting on behalf of Exxon, the coal industry and the Kochs, for Chrissakes.

              Really? What makes you think that Bill? What makes you think I am fighting for anything or anyone?

              I hear that some people in Australia pay more for their electricity out of choice so they can say they are “100% wind powered”, a ridiculous assertion if there was ever one, since they get the same product regardless.

              This alone should give you a few clues, even for the terminally gullible

            6. Well andy you come on here and repeat the crap feed to you by the Koch funded RWI courtesy of Dr Frondel, and referencing the BTI, what else are we to assume other than that you are not some foot soldier for Koch Industries and Exxon – Mobil? Notice that there are no other “studies” supporting Dr Frondel, and that his so-called “study” is little more that a simplistic comparison of two totally dissimilar projects in two different countries!

  17. I made an effort to explain why it is pointless acting on climate change outside a global agreement. I get the impression that much to your disgust, you also agree with my argument. The fascinating thing about people’s passion for climate change is you will not doubt go on demanding NZ act now, even though you know its a bit silly to.

    Probably time you laid off John Key and starting getting mad at Obama and the rest of the hand sitting world leaders.

    1. But why slag off the Aussies and the Europeans then? Ockham’s Razor says you actually don’t want any action at all, and holding out forever for some miraculous simultaneous international agreement seems the best means of attaining such an end.

  18. You have made no effort at all. I doubt you’ve even read a scientific paper on climate change or ocean acidification.

    John Key and his cronies will get their come-uppance for physics and chemistry will eventually dictate action. A big El Nino looks set this year, and of course global warming intensifies this natural oscillation through its effect of increasing the moisture holding capacity of the atmosphere. So we won’t have long to wait to see the consequences of scientific denial.

    New Zealanders likely have to put up with another 3 years of these National party ignoramuses before sanity prevails. Who knows maybe the economic good fortune National has enjoyed will evaporate in those 3 years – the bubble must burst at some point.

    1. If you vote Labour or Green, they are promising “KiwiPower” which proposes to lower power bills for consumers. How will they reconcile that with an increased carbon price that will put up the cost of electricity?

      1. Since we’re at 80%(ish) renewables already, a price signal to generators on 20% of consumption would have next to no effect on consumer prices, and a rapid move to 100% renewables (via Tiwai Pt, wind, geothermal, rooftop solar etc) would make any carbon pricing irrelevant to the end user.

        And on one thing (perhaps the only thing) I agree with Bryan Leyland, the current structure of the NZ power market is a long way from optimal, and KiwiPower only a band-aid, not a cure.

    2. New Zealanders can vote for someone that will shut down the entire economy and it will make no measurable difference to the climate or emissions at all.

      NZers would be much better boycotting Chinese products if they want to “take action”

      1. New Zealanders can vote for someone that will….

        Clearly the economy cannot grow indefinitely because we live on a finite planet, so some changes to the way we do business will have to change -assuming societal collapse is something humans wish to avoid.

        And like John C, where is you reputable evidence that acting to combat climate change will adversely affect the NZ economy?

        1. Obviously tackling the climate means making sacrifices.
          Is this difficult?

          If taking action on the climate was easy we would be all be doing it.

          1. Just because you lack vision andy, and can only think in terms of what is being down now – doesn’t make the transition to a carbon neutral economy impossible or unachievable, or horrendously expensive as you would have us all believe. Maybe for example we could stop building stupid motorways that have little or no economic value and save ourselves Billions of dollars which could be invested in far more economically advantageous infrastructure such as improved public transport, improved home insulation, roof top solar ( Israel has had a requirement since 1974 that all homes and buildings have solar hot water heating – are they all drowning in poverty now? ) etc.
            But that’s radical thinking andy – way beyond your comprehension.

      2. “NZers would be much better boycotting Chinese products if they want to “take action””
        Have to agree with you there. Not that I am opposed to trade. I just want “fair Trade” and free trade does not equal Fair trade. Trade the allows the exploitation of workers in one country at the expense of workers in another is neither just nor fair. Furthermore, exporting manufacturing from one to another simply hides the carbon emissions of one country in the emissions of another.
        Maybe we need to rethink our economy from one based on driving “consumption” to one based on meeting the needs of people not their wants.

        1. Mandatory honest labelling would be one idea. This “T-shirt was made by child labour”. Or “Indonesian Rainforest was destroyed in order to create the palm oil in this chocolate bar”.

          Perhaps not so brutally honest, but big corporations fear labelling because they know it will put consumers off their product.

    3. To be fair, Not much effort is required to make the case going it alone is pointless.

      I hear a lot of frustration that national is not doing enough, but you appear to be agreeing that acting alone is costly and futile. Your position makes no sense at all. What are national doing wrong and why would you do something different? This question is proving very difficult for you.

  19. You are missing the point Rob. National has every intention of working within any global agreement, we have to as our trade partners will demand it. You are arguing that we need to act before such an agreement is in place. Why? Surly you have reasoning to back up your demands. Anyone?

    Otherwise National are doing all that is reasonably possible to combat climate change. (Expect crow about it all the time)

    1. National has every intention of working within any global agreement.

      Yeah right. They are currently content with the status quo, which is to do effectively nothing, but would offer up a multitude of excuses if they were required to take meaningful action.

      You are arguing that we need to act before such an agreement is in place. Why?

      According to the latest assessment by the boffins involved in the IPCC process, it is cheaper to act on climate change than to do nothing and just deal with the consequences. Therefore doing something now is a no-brainer – it will be cheaper.

  20. So we laymen understand, why is it cheaper to act now? If the rest of the world doesn’t act our renewables and carbon tax efforts would be for nought right? We would be wishing those billions went to adaption instead. Did those IPCC boffins explain their case? They have been wrong before, no reasonable leader would commit to action without understanding what was to gain.

    1. ‘Boffins’? I wasn’t aware it was still 1962. ‘They have been wrong before’ – it’s too much to hope you’ll actually back this bizarre claim up, of course! (Remember, crank blogs don’t count!)

      And do you plan to continue evading the minor point – that you keep both deriding the actions others have taken and, simultaneously, denying that they exist in the first place – indefinitely, might one ask?

      I see this kind of illogicality, argument by assertion, and argument from incredulity; this seems to complete your repertoire. Do you actually possess any substance? Are you just going to keep running away down thread?

      I put it to you again; you are here to poison the well on taking any action at all.

      If the members of the ‘short-sighted and selfish’ camp continue to get their do-nothingist way and things start to go seriously pear-shaped I – and, I suspect, the majority of others reading this – predict you’ll squawk equally stridently that there’s no reason your hard-earned should be spent on anyone elses ‘adaption’, either, though when the time comes and the sh*t hits your own fans doubtlessly you’d be happy enough for taxpayers to cough-up…

  21. “why is it cheaper to act now?”

    See Gareth’s post on the IPCC WG3. Lurkers will note that you commented on that thread but clearly made no effort to understand the content of the post.

    “Did those IPCC boffins explain their case? They have been wrong before”

    – Those boffins said the Earth would warm. It has and continues to.

    – Those boffins said sea level would rise as a result of thermal expansion and the addition of meltwater from land-based ice. It has and continues to.

    – Those boffins said to expect heavier downpours as a result of the enhanced moisture-holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere. It has and continues to.

    – Those boffins said heatwaves would increase in intensity and severity as the Earth warmed. They have and continue to.

    – Those boffins said to expect the acidification of the oceans as more fossil fuel CO2 dissolves into the oceans. They have and continue to.

    On the other hand we hand a small band of denier climate scientists, and a horde of online organic denier spambots, who don’t have any coherent hypothesis on why the planet is warming, and make predictions that are refuted by observations time after time.

    Sorry, but reality makes it very transparent that expertise matters.

    1. Hey, Rob, congrats on the ‘Best Article of 2013’ from ERL for the Consensus paper, by the way!

      See, deniers; that’s how science is done. But, you’re not really interested in science, now, are you?

  22. I am not debating the science. I have asked time and time again why NZ should act outside a global agreement and I can not get anything that resembles an answer to that question. No wonder climate action gets shot down so easily, event the proponents can’t explain why it’s required.

    Bill are you saying the IPCC has not been wrong once? Wow!

    1. Oh, for God’s sake! I mean, what, are you 12? What do the following English words mean?:

      it’s too much to hope you’ll actually back this bizarre claim up, of course! (Remember, crank blogs don’t count!)

      Onus on you, get it?

      You need to provide evidence of your actual claim.

      Pseudoscience nonsense from crank blogs won’t cut it, and if you really don’t deny the science you’d have to be an utter fool to think that the Himalayan glacier date transposition episode, Dutch inundation error, or Amazon forest area mistake from AR4 was the kind of thing that mean ‘responsible world leaders’ should not act on the overwhelming consensus of the global scientific community.

      And yet that’s exactly what you do suggest!

      I repeat – you are well-poisoning on behalf of inaction.

      1. Bill, I don’t need to prove anything, I am happy for things to stay as they are. All I need to do is cast doubt and your hair-brain climate schemes won’t fly. You and your colleagues need to made an argument for change that the public will buy into. So far you have not even attempted this, I assume because there is no good argument for acting outside a global agreement.

        1. And there we have it folks! John is a self-confessed troll!
          I really hope you can sleep well at night John; your amorality must weigh heavy on your conscience at times. How does it feel to be the harbinger of “doubt” for the unsuspecting public, a spinner of untruths, a charlatan and sophist? Make you feel like you are doing good John?
          Why must we put up with this sort of behaviour?
          Have you read Bryan’s post on the moral imperative for action? You know – the need to act responsibly and mindful of the future for others? You do know what morality is John? I rather doubt it from one who appears to have the arrested moral development of an infant. You cry nothing else but “me me me!.”
          I suggest you read the story of the good samaritan sometime. It is a simple story but it typifies what it is to act in a moral and just way. But there are two others in the story as well – a levi and a pharisee, who both pass by on the other side. The point is that both these two have very good “reasons” for passing by. Levi’s were the “upper class” spiritually in the jewish culture akin to the priest or pharisee and to touch a wounded person would have defiled them. – a “good” reason?? well we would not think so today.

          Your good “reason” for doing nothing is akin to that of the Levi and the Pharisee; to pass by on the other side. The future generations will not look kindly on those who have the chance, but choose to do nothing to preserve the world. It is selfish in the extreme, and whilst greed is “good” in terms of market economics, it has no place in a just society.

          1. You argument about morality is based on the assumptions that (a) dangerous climate change is happening, or will happen and (b) any proposed measures will address the issue

            My main objection is (b) because I can’t see any of the measures are making the slightest difference to emissions

            I don’t think it is particularly moral to push people into poverty as a symbolic and fruitless gesture.

            1. Go and visit the Phillipines sometime any and tell those who lost their homes that dangerous climate change is not happening – or better still go over to the west coast and tell those who have lost their homes that it’s all ok that was just a 1 in 300 year event.
              and who is suggesting we push people into poverty – Oh yes you are the only one mentioning that. A more equitable distribution of wealth will hardly push people into poverty. But it will make the uber rich a little less self satisfied.

            2. That is simply because you don’t look very hard and have a mindset that completely lacks any vision.

            3. OK, so I lack vision. Apparently, Germany are a role model with their lignite power stations, increasing CO2 emissions and high electricity prices.
              China don’t need to do anything about emissions because it is not their fault.

              They sell NZ “trinkets” (clothes, electronics, etc) that we don’t actually need, yet somehow the billion plus people that buy “trinkets” from their mega-malls are exempt.

              The key thing is that we harm business. It matters not whether we actually decrease emissions As this is not happening, “taking action” means closing down our carbon-intensive industries and exporting them to China and other Asian countries

              It is quite clear from this thread that this is your agenda

          2. I am no troll Marco, I am just worried acting on climate out of step with the rest of the world will harm NZ and achieve nothing. Instead of spending all your time insulting my character you could be explaining to Joe Public why your climate measures are required now and why acting before the rest of the world is advantageous for NZ. Still waiting…………………………

            1. Both of you choose to be wilfully ignorant of the distinct advantages that NZ can accrue through taking positive action.
              I have already linked to the British Columbia experience which you, John. have blissfully ignored and have no answer to. That is why I impugn your character because you have no argument except one of self!
              Your arguments against action are baseless amounting to nothing less than that of the accountant placing a high discount rate to doing something now. It’s used by all greedies in every situation where they wish to avoid doing something. If they want to do something now they apply a low discount rate. It is both meaningless and immoral.
              John you admitted what you were doing in your previous comment. Those are the actions of a troll, nothing more and nothing less

            2. Here is a hypothetical question. If, in 20 years time, it has been shown that CO2 has a minimal impact on the climate and we are in the middle of a new Maunder Minimum, would you still consider yourself to have the moral high ground having committed NZ and the rest of the world to CO2 reduction policies whose only effect is to drive people into poverty?

            3. That is a hypothesis that I, and more than 97% of climate scientists, are more than 97.5% certain will not eventuate.
              As for your continued mantra that the world economy will be driven to hell in a hand cart, that is most likely to happen very soon if something is not done to provide a more equitable distribution of resources. Present economic policies have little to do with achieving this goal, and are more directed towards appeasing the wants of multi-corporates.

            4. It is baseless because the choice of discount rate is completely arbitrary. Who knows what the depreciation is? You can prove anything you like with this argument – to act or not to act. If you want to build roads of “national” significance choose a low discount rate, If you want to delay spending money on public transport choose a high discount rate. This “avoids” the need to consider action based on moral and beneficial grounds. It is a nonsense argument.

        2. John C – wrong; you simply cannot prove anything.

          Anyone reading the above exchange can easily see you are unable to provide any evidence of errors in the IPCC reports that are in any way serious enough that any ‘responsible world leader’ could use them to excuse their reckless inaction.

          You simply cannot do it. I seriously doubt that you have any familiarity with the contents of the IPCC reports whatsoever.

          Or any other point of the debate, for that matter. Every time I point out the contentless nature of your trolling – and, let’s be honest, that is what it is – you simply scamper off down-thread and hoik up some other nonsense.

          Who do you imagine you’re impressing?

          1. Bill, It is clear that John C has no understanding of what is meant by the commons. What kind of person cannot understand the commons?

            Anyone who does understand the commons will have a sense of responsibility, the ability to respond, and will do so. Such a one will have no difficulty in knowing that any fossil fuel burned has the same impact on the atmosphere, the oceans, and the biosphere as that volume of fuel used anywhere else, anytime else, by anyone else, and that some part of it will go on trapping heat untill earth’s slow tectonic processes sequester that carbon again.

  23. What, like nobody’s bloody acting while you simultaneously whine about the Australian Carbon Tax and European renewables schemes? Duh!

    Both of these schemes are being wound back thanks to Abbot and Putin. Why do we need more renewables when we are already world leaders? Europe should be following us on that front. Either way these efforts are insignificant on a global scale and do not include our main trading region Asia.

    1. “Why do we need more renewables when we are already world leaders?” Because adding renewables to the NZ generation mix has been beneficial for NZ, and adding more will also be beneficial.
      “I have asked time and time again why NZ should act outside a global agreement and I can not get anything that resembles an answer to that question.” The European member states are acting outside of a global agreement, China is acting outside of a global agreement, India is acting outside of a global agreement, Australia was acting outside of a global agreement until the ‘Ignorant and Proud Of It’ element of the electorate got what they had been stamping their feet for.
      Get a global agreement and nations have greater confidence in their emissions reducing investment as there is less risk of petulant administrations chucking their policies out the pram and racing off for the bottom OZ style.

  24. So what must John Key implement to match China and India’s climate action? Asian countries are our main trading partners so me should follow them if anyone. Tax on all fossil fuels? Blanket carbon tax? More than 80% renewables? What are they doing exactly?

    1. Well if Mr Key had some cash burning a hole in his pocket, for instance enough cash to convince someone to build, operate and decommission a pair of 800MW nuclear reactors, he could use that whopping treasure chest to stimulate further renewable development. As you know wind farms are competitive in NZ with new fossil fuel, but such wind farms tend to be the big ones and their development is sensitive to forecasts of future energy needs and fuel prices. With an incentive similar to UK ROC lots more capacity could come forward quickly in the form of good sites but with only enough space for a handful of turbines. Add in support for developing community ownership/co-ops (lots of your local network operators are co-ops I hear) and you will get reduced fossil fuel use.
      Oh and China and India, they do have carbon measures in their market. If you want to know ‘exactly’ – go and look it up for yourself you lazy sod. Pointing out that your ‘lets build 2 nuclear reactors’ plan has some issues is not an application to volunteer as your spoon-feeding personal tutor!

      1. “As you know, wind farms are competitive….”

        No they are not. The Deloitte report showed that wind energy in NZ is a very marginal investment.

        Without subsidies like most of the rest of the world, wind is unlikely to be a big player in NZ

        It’s a waster of time anyway, as you know.

        1. Birdchoppers!
          Sorry I don’t know what came over me there. A ‘waster of time’, is that not andyS sitting in front of the UK NETA data hitting refresh until he get a snapshot he think makes a point, or perhaps dreaming up new sock-puppet names.
          Low marginal cost power, no fossil fuel consumption, EROI well within a year, wind turbines are well worth it.
          Does this Deloitte report account for the externalities of the displaced gas and coal use? Still marginal?

        2. Have you visited Ashurst at all? Perhaps you should.
          I can imagine no better punishment for andy for his constant harping, than to be taken to Ashurst and tied to a post at the wind farm look-out and forced to watch them turn – constantly! Hundreds of the beggars! Then as part of his probation he must count all the birds that have been chopped, his sentence to be reduced by 1 year for every bird he finds.

          1. Why do you think I should be tied to a post?
            I was making some comments about STOR and the fact that large numbers of diesel generators are being deployed in the UK, apparently to pick up the short term fluctuations from wind energy.

            I would have thought that if you were actually interested in solutions that reduced emissions and pollution you might show some concern for this.

            However, if you wish to “tie me to a post” at Ashurst (where ever that is) then feel free

          2. Andy my family hail from the Isle of Gigha just off the coast of the Kintyre Peninsula. In 2001 the islanders formed a trust an bought the island.
            It was the first of this kind of venture. The Island is now fully paid off and part of the method to do that was by selling electricity to the national grid. You can read about it here:
            Now tell me – how was this a venture into poverty?

            1. No it sounds like a wise way of milking the ROC subsidies for what they are worth. Lot’s of Scottish communities are doing it.

              It won’t last though. When the ROCs eventually get canned, the whole system will collapse.

            2. You obviously haven’t read the links have you andy – the windmills have paid for themselves several times by now. And a 3% subsidy?? You really are in cockoo land!

            3. I see from your link that the weather is often stormy there. (No surprise)
              Then, they have to shut down the turbines at short notice and import electricity from the mainland. The short term fluctuations may come from diesel generators.

            4. Oh come on!! lol now you really are scrapping the bottom of the barrel.
              “Given the prevailing wind conditions on the Isle of Gigha, (you may have noticed we have a very good wind resource!) we estimate that the three windmills combined will produce approximately 2.1 gigawatt hours of electricity a year, approximately two thirds of the island’s electricity requirements. This makes the Gigha windmills a small, but locally significant, producer of electricity.”

            5. andyS is so forgetful, he has forgotten again that wind turbines wind speed for safety shut-down is approaching hurricane speed on the Beaufort scale. Are UK hurricane incidents common? No. Can the Met Office see them coming? Yes, they are almost as obvious as andyS!

            6. Yes I know it has a small population andy – it is after all only a few miles long. So an amazing achievement by such a small number to not only now own the island outright, but to be virtually self-sufficient in energy requirements and exporting energy as well. It shows what can be done when a community acts together towards a goal. This is not an example of market economics but a managed economy with every one involved. Yes they set the trust up as a business and followed business practice, but as a collective rather than as a limited company with no one ultimately responsible. It’s an example of how the world as a whole will need to work in the future if we wish to preserve civilisation as we know it now. Free market practices assume greed as the ultimate driving force, and that can only have one end result – an accumulation of wealth in the hands of some at the expense of everyone else. An unequal distribution of resources is unhealthy to the economy and the people it is supposed to support. The world needs a new paradigm for its economy, and maybe we have the model on Gigha.

            7. It’s worth reading the Wiki page about Gigha. The former chairman of the Heritage Trust has the rather unlikely name of “Willie McSporran”

              Sounds like a character out of one of Gareth’s Moncktonian tales

            8. I found this article in the Scotsman which backs up my claims about the subsidies

              The Isle of Gigha was the first community in the UK to develop a grid connected, community-owned wind farm. Its three turbines, known locally as the Dancing Ladies, generate £75,000 profit each year and provide two thirds of the island’s electricity.

              Lukas Lehmann, development manager for Gigha Renewable Energy, which made use of the renewables obligation system of subsidies to develop the scheme, said he had “serious concerns” about the planned reductions.

              It would have “a seriously detrimental impact on proposals being developed by other communities, both on other islands and on the mainland,” he said

              So, as I said upthread, drop the ROCs and the schemes become unviable

            9. I enjoyed reading about Gigha, Macro, good story! I noted that the turbines can be shut down or started up from a desktop computer but despite lots of wind this normally happens just twice a year with one small and one large maintenance program; and birds? sheltering in the lees of the turbines in bad weather. The surprise was the second hand turbine market. The bigger turbines are more efficient but the second hand turbines were a way of getting into renewable generation while already under a large debt to pay off in just a few years. Community effort showed up too in NZ in that Green New Zealand TV series a while back. Where people help each other they do much better than where it’s every man for himself.

            10. Sounds like a character out of one of Gareth’s Moncktonian tales

              Hmm… Monckton’s local SNP nemesis, perhaps… Monckton and the Independence Vote… Hmm…

            11. My grandmother was a MacSporran, and it was Willie’s vision that saw the formation of the trust – a rather remarkable man actually.
              Yes the viability of the installation of renewables is eased by subsidies. Subsidies that by the way are minuscule to those given to the Fossil Fuel industry which is why John’s contention that “coal is cheap” is utter nonsense – the externalised cost and subsidies are never accounted for.

  25. Beaker, not once have I mentioned building nuclear reactors in NZ.

    So after all that asking what John Key is doing so wrong with his current climate policy it comes back to windmills! We have 80% renewable energy, we are world leaders, yet for some reason we just need a few more. Is that the hot topic climate policy?

    We also have ‘carbon measures’ in our market so why is that not enough? China is doing good you say, but so are we if that is your standard. Is this blog no more than a chance to bitch at those who don’t share your ideology? For a couple of days I have pressed you guys to find out what national could realistically be doing differently and I have got nothing! Oh, maybe a few more windmills john, even though it will achieve nothing. And if they are so economic then the market will build them when required, not government.

    I am rather shocked by the lack of substance behind all the climate change hysterics.

  26. Apologies, I was conflating you with John ONeil the nuclear fan boy on the other thread.
    “And if they are so economic then the market will build them when required, not government.” fast enough for the market but not fast enough to secure the progressive de-carbonising of electricity generation that any realistic effort to avoid the worst (and most expensive) impacts of anthropogenic climate change. The market you see is not perfect, it does not cover the externalities of fossil fuel use.
    NZ is well placed to lead in several areas, abundant renewable energy resources to exploit and world class Agri Environment research. These should be used, and if that means taking a lead in a particular area, good. There is also economic benefit to be had from being a leader (the UKs various research councils are testament to that), but so many politicians (including our own dear Chancellor Osbourne) are far more concerned to check that they are doing no more than anyone else. You do get greater progress with a race to lead rather than foot-dragging to ensure you don’t get ahead.
    “I am rather shocked by the lack of substance behind all the climate change hysterics.” Go and read the IPCC reports, this is a blog discussing various issues centred around Climate Change, not the actual evidence base itself.

  27. We are leading though Beaker. Near 80% renewables for power generation. That is more than most countries even have as an aspirational goal. You talk as if NZ building more windmills will actually influence the climate, it won’t. Do the good people of Britain speak highly of our renewables achievements now? I doubt it. I just don’t see why NZ needs to have 85 or 90% renewable power when other countries are happy on 10%. There is no gain.

    NZ is a leading food producer. Taxing energy we can’t avoid using will reduce our competitiveness. This will far outweigh any gains from green tech. We already have a windmill maker in Christchurch, are they bankrupt yet? They were looking for handouts a while ago. Not exactly a thriving industry.

    1. Sitting on your hands is not a recommended means of maintaining a lead. Are your per capita GHG emissions sustainable? No? Then surely NZ should act rather than be casting around for excuses to do less.
      I have no doubt that the majority of UK bods who have any awareness of NZ renewables approve, there is after all a consistent majority in favour of onshore wind in the UK, poll after poll.
      Re your Windflow turbines, I think the original design for these is from the UK, and the decision to go for lots of small 1MW wind turbines instead of a few larger multi MW turbines for a wind farm was in retrospect a poor one. That is why NZ and Australia are shipping in the big ones from the far side of the world where there is a thriving industry thanks.
      “Taxing energy we can’t avoid using will reduce our competitiveness.” The whole point of taxing fossil fuel use is that you CAN avoid using it.

  28. That’s all well and good but the issue remains…..NZ has nothing to gain by acting now. It’s not worth the risk to the economy. There is no rewards for leading, if there is then I haven’t noticed them.

    1. So in your mind there is absolutely nothing to be gained from being a leader in decarbonisation when in all likelihood all industry that is carbon intensive is going to face higher costs as ever stronger economic measures are used to cut emissions till a sustainable level is achieved. I actually hope your daydream comes true, but I would not make plans based on it being true.
      What economic incentive do you think there is for NZ to sit on its hands now when it could do something, then have to try to catch up later while being beaten by its trading partners carbon tax sticks?

  29. You already admitted upthread that you don’t have to provide any evidence to back up your claims, and you have refused to despite being called upon. So your claims are worthless – as we established upthread.

    On the other hand, the post by Gareth on WG3 of the latest IPCC assessment shows that we will actually save money by acting on climate change (and ocean acidification too).

    Unless one has a financial investment in fossil fuels, what’s not to like about phasing it out?

  30. Correct Beaker. I’m sure we can agree that taxing carbon will make our exports less competitive compared to countries with no carbon taxes. We can agree I’m sure a NZ carbon tax will not affect the climate so we can discount environmental reasons for doing so. Being a leader (in my view) can result in making mistakes and using inferior technology. For example windmills are much better now than a few years ago and will likely be better again in the future. New low or no carbon technologies might be just around the corner. China is a follower and look how fast they caught up using others technology. Following is easier and cheaper plus our export prices will go up when a global agreement is introduced making transition easier. Given we are such a small irrelevant country (and no other country can legitimately punish us for not having a full carbon tax when the USA and China don’t) I can’t see the point in acting now.

    Just read economics 101 Rob, you can’t need a Guardian link for everything.

  31. I haven’t linked to the Guardian, you simply made that up. Lurkers can see that by reading upthread.

    And your economics 101 comment is, of course, nonsense. Many of the world’s leading economists contributed to the IPCC report and their finding was that acting on climate change is actually a money saver.

    You seem unwilling to grasp this rather basic fact. Clearly it is you that doesn’t understand economics.

  32. I haven’t linked to the Guardian, you simply made that up.

    Exactly. But it fits well with the dismissive ‘boffins’ comment upstream, don’t you think? Colonel Blimp here – a legend in his own lunchtime – gaily vanquishes enemies that exist solely inside his own head. He’s not the first we’ve met who apparently intends to defend your country by creating a pile of strawmen sufficient to create a veritable sea-wall!

    1. Read higher, I did not bring up the term Bill.

      I will investigate the BC experience and will comment on it later. I just dont understand why you change the subject so much to avoid explaining why acting on climate change before a global agreement is advisable. Please understand I am not disputing your precious science. Saying we need to act to save the planet is rubbish because NZ acting wont make a lick of difference. You must be able to understand this. Why cant we just participate in any global agreement that gets introduced? Why the rush?

      You say you want change but you cant make any sort of argument for change. Attacking me will not help introduce climate change measures you claim to want. You can say I cant back up my claims, who cares, neither have you so there is not argument for change and things will stay the same. I’m ok with that.

    2. The funny part here is you had the chance to dispute my argument, but you chose to go after the joke about wanting Guardian verification instead.

      Keep avoiding the issue Bill. The longer you and your colleagues cant articulate why we must act now, the more reason I have to be confident nothing will change. I’m pretty relaxed at the moment I might add.

      1. We have articulated why we need to respond to the threat of climate change and ocean acidification. You just ignore it. It hardly concerns me, I never post to convince an ideologue like yourself that you are wrong – future events will take care of that. No, I simply write to point out to lurkers that you are wrong, and how people like yourself ignore the scientific evidence.

        As for your state of relaxation, it’s irrelevant and doesn’t change the laws of physics.

        1. Again Rob, you are suggesting NZ changing its climate policy outside a global agreement will stop ocean acidification and global warming. It won’t so saving the world can not be a reason for change. Sorry.

    1. Your high-handed refusal to respond directly to your critics has marooned your cryptic remark – not improved by the absence of appropriate punctuation – in space. I’m sure it will prove to be as substantial and well-informed as the others.

      1. I am still waiting for someone to provide any substantial evidence that “taking action” (whatever that means) will make the slightest bit of difference to emissions

        1. That’s a good point Andy, although opening up another front on the effectiveness of climate action will not doubt lead to all sorts of insults and accusations.

          I just thought that because they are constantly advocating for carbon taxes and the like, they would be able to explain how NZ will benefit from it. The climate certainly wont. This question has proven surprisingly difficult. Watch and learn how to avoid giving an answer….

          1. John C,
            I have repeatedly here, and elsewhere, advocated for research into Thorium derived energy. I have been repeatedly been pushed back

            I get the impression that no one actually wants a technological solution to the hypothetical threat of CO2 increase

            1. Nuclear energy is certainly an option elsewhere. It just doesn’t make financial sense in New Zealand with it’s high percentage of electricity derived from renewable sources, and the possible closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter which currently uses around 15% of all electricity consumption.

              As for the threats of CO2 increase, ocean acidification is occurring today. Given that it is implicated as a kill mechanism in 3 of the 5 major extinction events in Earth’s ancient history, and that the current rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is unprecedented in 300 million years, it is a cause for legitimate concern.

            2. Rob – I agree with your points re. NZ and Tiwai.
              I visited the Manapouri power station a few months ago – a very impressive piece of engineering

          2. Oh, so you can use the ‘reply’ button! You may be interested to know, John, that the other posters on this blog are not your staff. Don’t mention it!

            Watch and learn how to avoid giving an answer

            Coming from someone who has repeatedly skipped off at the first sign of a challenge? Well, that’s another Irony Meter busted, then…

            I invite readers to peruse John’s performance above, and elsewhere on this blog, and see if they can detect anything other than unsubstantiated assertions, hand-waving, claims that ‘everybody knows’, and arguments from personal incredulity, followed by a prompt moonlight flit down the page whenever some pesky opponent starts dragging boring sciencey-wiencey facts into the matter.

            1. Come on then Bill, I will take you on. Let’s see who is all hot air.

              Please explain why it’s advantageous for NZ to act outside a global agreement (remember it won’t affect the climate anyway).

              I will in return answer any question you feel I have been avoiding.

            2. You consistently avoid the prime example of the British Columbia experience. Now why is that John? Doesn’t fit with your distorted preconceived ideas of the world? One of the wealthy who might lose some income because you are one of the high users of fossil fuels? Here as a minion of J K and just doing your job? What is it? We want to know.

          1. Germany’s electricity prices are three times those in the USA.
            The USA has reduced co2 emissions to 1990 levels. Germany has 24 new coal fired stations, including Lignite. Some of their power stations burn plastic bottles.

            1. If you spin any harder andy you will fly apart – just as your argument does! Where to start to deconstruct all this nonsense??
              Let’s take Germany for a start. Firstly there are not 24 new coal power stations, there are 10. The plans for the others have been mothballed because of the increasing availability of renewables. These new power stations are replacing older less efficient ones, and the plan is that these Coal fired ones will be redundant, by 2050.
              Germany also made the decision after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, to close all its nuclear plants by 2022. So they are forced to rely on Coal as the back-up into the intermediate future, with the goal of completely replacing them with renewables by 2050. That goal still remains. The cost of replacement has been built into the cost of electricity, which is now beginning to decline as the renewables come on stream. The public have been aware of this – this information has been well publicised.
              Now let’s look at what’s happening in the states – where virtually no planning has occurred, but where GHG emissions have also slowly begun to decline since 2008 (they have not returned to 1990 levels as you say according to those who should know the EPA ).
              Note that year andy because it is a significant one. Do you recall what happened in 2008? Does the so-called Global Financial Crisis ring a bell? Production in the states has been steadily declining now for sometime as they source more and more product from Asia. For instance, the states is now no longer able to clothe itself as it imports almost all its clothing; only a small up market clothing industry remains. Steel and aluminium production has fallen as the automotive industry is in decline. There are two factors at play here. Firstly the loss of finance, many people left without pension funds etc, and Secondly the loss of jobs, means an economy ticking over, but essentially in decline. Any “growth” in GDP is (like here) essentially a growth of the financial sector from a deflated base of 2008.
              So your argument that Germany is suffering and USA is the way to go is in reality quite the reverse! The sick economy is that of the USA – evidenced by it’s declining GHG emissions, largely as a result of its declining industry exported to Asia.

            2. If you think that tripling electricity prices is the way to go, then why do the NZ labour and Greens propose to cap the price of electricity via kiwi power? Is climate change off the agenda for the Green Party?

              The UK Labour Party Are planning something similar,yet it is their party that introduced the crippling expensive climate change bill that condemned the UK to skyrocketing electricity prices.

              I can’t follow a political party, of whatever stripe, that cannot come up with a consistent and meaningful policy that doesn’t contain inherent contradictions.

            3. Because NZ is not Germany andy.
              In NZ we generate almost 80% of our electricity from renewables so hiking the price is only done because the power companies are seen as “cash cows” and are being milked as hard as they can be.
              Germany aims to get to 80% renewables by 2050, and to do that 3/4 of the population (on 1 poll) and with a bi lateral political understanding, they agreed that they would step up electricity prices to fund the phasing in of renewables – as the renewables were phased in, then the price would begin to drop accordingly – and it did. But then they changed the goal posts with the recent decision to phase out the nuclear plants early rather than later, and so they are now in the process of reassessing their goals and the time frames. But of course the nuclear industry is making “waves” – there is a vested interest.
              You can’t compare the two countries andy – they are completely different.
              And Britain is different again – but i believe it ould well think of following Germany’s example. Either you pay for the costs of Carbon emissions later in severe climate events – such as the recent storms or you pay for it in small instalments converting to renewables and hopefully avoid the downstream catastrophes.

            4. So you think that NZ should drop electricity prices? How does that fit in with an ETS that raises electricity prices, apparently to make renewables more competitive?

              Furthermore, I don’t believe that Germans voted,for,higher prices in the hope that they would go down later. No one is that gullible. Their plan to run the country on 80% wind and solar is doomed to failure as is Britains. It is simply not possible.

              This will become apparent very soon when the blackouts start.

  33. Saving money by acting on climate change, as pointed out by the IPCC WG3, is a benefit to New Zealand.

    Even if one were to ignore the science regarding the threat to New Zealand’s environment posed by continued fossil fuel use, the fact that world-leading economists find a considerable financial benefit scuttles John C’s repetitive unsubstantiated claims.

    I expect even young school children can grasp the concept that a reduced tax take from fossil fuels (as consumer habits respond) has to be offset in someway by a tax elsewhere – the carbon tax.

  34. Rob you are all over the place. Firstly stop saying I don’t believe in the science when I have not challenged it once. Secondly the IPCC is referring to global action, not NZ acting before a global agreement. I have no comment on the economics of global action, just premature NZ action.

    After a good three days of trying for an answer I think its safe to conclude you don’t have one.

    Next subject please.

    1. Fossil fuels are not provided free of charge to the people of New Zealand – I would have expected you to know this. Reducing our reliance upon them, reduces our expenditure importing them (mostly oil) into the country.

      A positive side-effect, as pointed out in the IPCC WG3 summary I linked to in my last comment, are gains in public health. Less harmful particulates from fossil fuels is something that would benefit a great many city dwellers in New Zealand.

      So financial and health benefits from acting on climate change even if other nations continue to drag their feet.

      1. You appear to be making a good case for more oil exploration in NZ, I too support this. I agree our spend on oil is money lost to the country. What is the alternative though? Hybrid cars and trucks? I assume we haven’t gone that way yet because we don’t have an alternative for large commercial vehicles and hybrid cars are too expensive (even more money would leave NZ).

        As far as health effects for fossil fuels, I’m not sure this is a major NZ issue. I have seen not numbers on it but it does not get much media time. The public will unlikely be persuaded to pay more for petrol on that bases. If public health was the goal I would suggest expanding the health budget would have more tangible gains.

        1. The oil exploration around New Zealand isn’t going too good at the moment. With any luck they will continue to find zip. Imaginary oil won’t replace oil.

          And even if they did, why should we partake in causing a potential ocean extinction event just because other world leaders are as stupid as John Key?

          1. We are partaking anyway, if we aren’t burning NZ oil we are burning foreign oil.

            Bottom line, NZs emissions contribution can not be measured on any thermometer or ocean pH reading. Why do you keep saying our measures will actually achieve something? John Key is doing right by NZs by not acting prematurely.

            1. Yes, foreign oil that we pay billions of dollars for. The less spent on importing it, the more money in our pockets.

              And John Key is doing New Zealand a disservice. The time to act is now. Once the really bad consequences of climate change begin to be felt on the global economy, the world will begin to mobilise and put a price on carbon. Given that we live a long way away from most countries, this is going to be a huge economic burden on our exports.

              New Zealand can’t afford to dither, we have to act upon the best expert advice there is, both scientifically and economically.

            2. Rob, you are missing something I’m afraid. If you tax fuel but don’t provide a suitable and equally cheap alternative our exports will be less competitive and there will be less money in our pockets. Let’s not forget most of our products require oil to help produce. I would hate to be a farmer without a tractor these days.

              You say act now but if we look at China, their economic miracle is based on following. They used other counties technology which is much more efficient than creating it. Following will be much less risky and we can avoid the mistakes of others.

              FYI, the energy used to get our milk and meat to market is a very small portion of the total cost of production. Overseas producers use more fossil fuels in the production of milk/meat so will be hurt more by a tax on carbon.

          2. You may think John Key is stupid. This seems unlikely to me since he has been polling as the most popular Prime Minister for a long time.

            The problem is, it is difficult to get elected if you tell the voters that you are going to put the cost of energy up and ban everything. Generally, people don’t like this.

            1. Not sure what popularity has to do with stupidity. Centuries ago a popular activity was to accuse women of being witches and then burn them at the stake. Seems pretty darn stupid in hindsight.

              I presume John Key may wish to live in New Zealand after he retires from politics. As the consequences of climate change and ocean acidification begin to unfold, and negatively impact the lives and livelihoods of New Zealanders, they will demand to know why Key and his ilk failed to act upon the best available scientific and economic advice. Given the lessons of history, I doubt people will be pleasant about it.

            2. Are you suggesting that John Key will find it unsafe to live in NZ because he didn’t impose draconian taxes on the public that will have no effect on the climate?

              This seems a little far fetched to me.

            3. Climate science seems far-fetched to you Andy.

              The scenario suggested is simply a possible outcome. People always look for someone to blame when things go pear-shaped. Credit due where credit is due in this case.

              And furthermore, why should we continue to destroy our natural environment just because others are doing the same? It is going to cost big time if we doing nothing to address climate change and ocean acidification. The science and economics is very clear on that.

  35. [F]ree-market advocates seem to experience a peculiar loss of faith whenever the subject of the environment comes up. They normally trumpet their belief that the magic of the market can surmount all obstacles — that the private sector’s flexibility and talent for innovation can easily cope with limiting factors like scarcity of land or minerals. But suggest the possibility of market-friendly environmental measures, like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, and they suddenly assert that the private sector would be unable to cope, that the costs would be immense. Funny how that works.

    Nobel Prize winning economist. Giving an uncannily neat description of our resident Free Market™ acolytes.

    And since we’re in the mood for informed arguments coming from people who’ve actually read the IPCC reports, rather than hand-waving from those who haven’t…

    I mean, hell, whaddyaknow, you could even go completely crazy and read Gareth’s post. A radical idea, I know…

  36. Bill, you have avoided my question at every turn. That’s fine, I now know why John Key has not been persuaded to act before a global agreement. There are no good reasons.

    Please repeat any of my arguments you have a problem with and I will explain them further and provide links.

    1. There is no argument to be made against ignorance. A myopic pig is blinded by the mud of its own wallow. Besides, as has recently been pointed out, a pig enjoys wrestling in its own wilful ignorance.

      1. Well given most of the public are ignorant it appears you have an issue here.

        We both know you answer my question or you would have done it by now. You are admitting defeat by ducking the issue. Even if you can’t convince me, at lease explain to the casual reader you have an answer. Or was taxing carbon for public health the best you had as well?

      2. Noel I’m sure that you know more about the habits of pigs than that. They are very clean animals , and will use a suitable source of mud as a counter to external parasites , as do many other species.

        1. And of course there is Churchill’s notable respect for pigs.However, I refer to a partcular species of pig – the kind that cannot leave it’s wallow though it is drying out.

    2. In case you haven’t grasped it, John, I’m an Australian, and I don’t generally comment on NZ politics because I’m simply not familiar enough with it. A policy both you and andy might do well to adopt.

      However, since I infer from the behaviour of commenters – other than yourself and andy, of course – that NZers hope to have a future they would do well do stop sitting on their hands, as should any comfortable first world nation – immensely privileged as a result of its own disproportionate carbon exploitation history – that can afford it. You have everything to gain. (Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth! ‘Oh, weez poor, poor!’…)

      Now, your questions –

      Remember how I pulled you up on your ludicrous claims about our carbon tax? You know, the one we put in, despite the fact that according to you, NZ would be acting first if it did anything? Remember how I pointed out you were contradicting yourself with your hysterical claims about the Aussie carbon tax or European renewables, which conflicted with your hysterical claim that poor noble NZ would be going it alone if it acted unilaterally?

      Remember how I linked to a Nobel prize winning economist outlining why your position is BS? Twice? Including his refutation of the ‘we simply can’t afford it, will no-one think of the children’ hysteria? Remember how you didn’t bother to read it?

      Or the IPCC reports, for that matter?

      Remember when I said this –

      Anyone reading the above exchange can easily see you are unable to provide any evidence of errors in the IPCC reports that are in any way serious enough that any ‘responsible world leader’ could use them to excuse their reckless inaction.

      You simply cannot do it. I seriously doubt that you have any familiarity with the contents of the IPCC reports whatsoever.[?]

      Remember when you didn’t provide any evidence of any such bloody errors?

      And, how did we get to this? Remember claiming that you ‘accept the science’? Remember how I pointed out that this didn’t exactly fit with –

      Did those IPCC boffins explain their case? They have been wrong before, no reasonable leader would commit to action without understanding what was to gain.[?]

      Remember how I repeatedly pointed out that you were here merely to poison the well on behalf of inaction? In this light, could you explain to us the English meaning of the following quotation –

      Bill, I don’t need to prove anything, I am happy for things to stay as they are. All I need to do is cast doubt and your hair-brain climate schemes won’t fly[?]

      Did you know it’s ‘hare-brained’, actually?

      Remember how I suggested you actually go back and read Gareth’s post?

      And, most of all – the question I have asked most often; who do you imagine you’re impressing?

      We now have a permanent record on this blog that I hope your great-grandchildren get to read one day, if they’re ever wondering why the hell no-one did anything in the face of such overwhelming scientific evidence…

      In short: anybody who takes the time to read through the above will quickly realize who the chronically evasive blowhard is. (Hint – it’s you!)


      1. I am a New Zealander and have every right to comment on our politics. To be honest I don’t think too many people will care if you comment either, we have Aussies as party leaders so it should be ok.

        I am not trying to impress anyone, but if I am, bonus. My family are well familiar with my views so they don’t have to research my online comments to find out what they are.

        Yes I know some countries have carbon measures, how ever not many and certainly not our main trading partners. We would be ‘one of’ the leaders if we followed suit and would be imposing costs many of our competitors won’t have.

        I have accepted the IPCC findings, I was just pointing out they have been wrong before. Something very few large organisations can deny.

        You still apparently think NZ can change the climate. Anything we do will make no difference to the climate so how are we saving the world?
        Also not one of your links talks about why NZ will benefit by acting outside a global agreement. Forget the other stuff that is my question and you know you can’t answer it.

        1. My reference to you and andy following suit regards the reciprocal situation: your clearly uninformed comments about Australia.

          Speaking of which: what, we’re not a ‘main trading partner’?! Keeriste!… I was almost tempted to add a personal rule and add more punctuation…

          Now, if the world was composed of ~1600 New Zealands or ~320 Australias – because, funnily enough, exactly the same self-exonerating crap gets spouted here, despite the fact that we have a couple of cities larger than your country, and I’m sure, say, Canada (~200 required) has the same elements spouting the same immoral nonsense – the climate crisis is by (reactionary) definition insoluble. Everyones ‘little bit’ makes ‘no difference’, so pffffttt goes the planet!

          But, of course, that’s not how it is. Instead the world’s wealthiest crypto-democratic oligarchy – the US – doesn’t have to to anything because 1: God, 2: Mammon, and 3: China. And, in turn, the world’s wealthiest crypto-communist oligarchy doesn’t have to do anything because 1: (rightly) History and 2: they’re the actual manufacturers of all the trinkets everyone else buys, but somehow the carbon they expend in the process still gets billed back to them.

          I could go on but the end result is always the same: reactionaries dominate the polity and pffft, fried planet, sorry, no refunds.

          Or, just maybe, a few of the genuinely liberal, wealthy, well-educated populations of the world could announce they’d had enough of the bullshit and say ‘well, clearly someone has to stop pointing at everyone else and step up to the plate’.

          We did it, but, predictably, our reactionary oligarchs just used their wealth – and an unpaid army of useful idiots – to create a massive propaganda campaign that far-too-many in the general population are too silly and sullen to put much effort into resisting resist, sadly.

          But, hooray for you, eh? Because you’re ‘winning’. All the way to the pfffffttt

          Don’t think nobody noticed your strategic silence on the other major points I raised. Particularly the question of what you’re really doing here. Or how disingenuous your response regarding ‘accepting the science’ is.

          1. Sorry, does Australia still have a carbon tax?

            So your argument all boils down to moral obligations. Sadly a carbon tax will by design put extra costs on energy we often don’t have an alternative for. It will not achieve anything so it will just be a case of showing off our morals, rather than actually making a difference (Empty moral gesture if you will).

            The world will fry or not (in you view) on the decisions of the USA and China. What we do or don’t do has no impact on the climate of them (notice the whole of Europe can’t convince them to change their ways). That carbon tax money would be better spend on adaption as required, it is wasted outside a global agreement.

            Can you see why John Key is in no hurry now? (He also wants to get voted in again)

            1. Yes it does, dork! It’s what the bunfighting’s all about! And this is precisely why I suggested you don’t open your mouth if you know nothing about the topic.

              Never mind, ‘winner’, your reactionary mates will probably get their repeal through, and then they’ve got a nice $1.5 billion Trotskyite ‘Direct Action’ – I kid you not! – plan what will achieve 3/5ths of sweet FA and not a single one of your fellow reactionaries is whinging about it! You’d almost think none of you care how expensive and pointless your shams are!

              A carbon tax is a bloody market mechanism, and the most efficient one there is. Read the bloody Nobel-prize winning economist. Read the Stern report. Read the Garnaut report. Read the bloody IPCC reports.


              Incidentally, what is the conservative position on conducting a radical experiment with one atmosphere we possess?

            2. In the few cases where a carbon tax has been implemented it has certainly been effective, even a weak one. There is considerable room for variation in how one is applied and where the tax take goes.

              ETS schemes or cap and trade have not been effective as I see it, too prone to interference, market volatility, and all the exemptions that businesses manage to secure. NZ’s placebo ETS demonstrates all these failings. That cap and trade worked for SO2 was taken as a model but I don’t think the comparison really stands up. As Hansen pointed out years ago there is a floor below which such schemes, even if genuinely implemented, cease to work. Carbon emissions reduction, has to go very deep.

              I was glad to learn of the complaints of Vancouver businesses. The idea is that everyone is motivated to reduce emissions. If it does not hurt it does not work.

            3. Noel, you realise you are countering your colleagues assertions that a carbon tax won’t hurt business.

              The cracks are starting to really open up now.

            4. That fact most Australians voted for the party that vowed to scrap the carbon tax is not reassuring.

              Look Bill, I agree a carbon tax would be an efficient way of reducing emissions. But if NZ implements one while and USA and China don’t it will be a waste of time and money. The USA now has (another) competitive advantage over Europe, that is less incentive to hurry one in.

              Bill, can you please paste the section of the Stern report that explains why taxing energy in you country while others don’t is good for the economy? Thanks.

              You need to stop getting off topic with your go to talking points and answer my actual question! Expert!

            5. I’ve answered your questions. (Unless you’re counting the silly rhetorical one about the Stern Report.)

              The reverse, however, still cannot be said to be the case.

              I’m afraid your reference to ‘getting off-topic’ means I’m now going to have to secure another supply of Irony Meters.

              The carbon tax in Australia did not hurt business. Propaganda claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

              And one of the things that really annoys me about your handwaving nonsense is that, contrary to your ‘if I repeat this often enough it’s true’ strategy, the majority of economists in Australia think the carbon tax is sound policy:

              A new study by the Economic Society of Australia, released today, found 60 per cent of economists believed the move to put a price on carbon from mid-2012 and to use the funds to benefit households, industry and clean energy was sound economic policy.

              But one-quarter of the 140 economists surveyed disagreed with the assessment.

              Almost 85 per cent said they did not think the Coalition’s alternative “direct action” plan was a sound economic proposal to reduce carbon emissions

              Despite your risible claim – a palpable projection – that ‘the cracks are opening up’ it’s you who demonstrated above how little you actually know of the Australian situation with a humiliating series of faux-pas.

              My suggestion that you confine your commentary to matters where you actually have some knowledge – or you’ve actually done some research (a radical notion, I know) – remains as pertinent as ever.

              Of course, this is anathema to the alumni of the University of Making Sh*t Up.

            6. If you say the carbon tax is good for Australia then I accept that. It’s a bit of a worry they want to scrap a scheme so clearly beneficial to all, but that is Australia’s issue.

              Now Bill, we both know you haven’t answered my question, you just went on a rant. Re-read your ‘answers’ and tell me when you explained how NZ would benefit from introduceing a carbon tax before a global agreement?
              Why are you so scared of pointing out the benefits? Oh I know, you can’t think of any. Bugger!

              Noel was telling me a carbon tax is designed to hurt business to promote change. Are you suggesting it will be good for the economy?

            7. John C, you are beyond it. How many times do people have to push your nose into the fact that we must and we will adapt to a low carbon fuel future. The sooner we embark on this journey the more gently the transition can be and the more affordable it will be. Plus being in early with technology development has definite positive effects on the ability to compete on global markets supplying the same. And a people accustomed to use less fossil fuels will be ready and competitive in the world of stringent fossil fuel restrictions that we are going towards. A carbon emissions tax or a fossil fuel tax at the border is a sensible mechanism to direct the economy into the right direction. The funds thus created can be spend strategically to assist with the transition.
              But this simple arithmetic is incomprehensible to ACT supporters and like minded logger heads.

            8. The people who want to scrap the carbon tax are those with vested interests to do so. They also control much of the media in Australia and carried out a very successful (for them) media campaign to demonise the tax. Also the pitiful politics of the Labor camp left the ordinary voter with a choice of the devil you know (Rudd) and the devil you don’t know (Abbott) unfortunately they had had enough of the devil they knew and chose the devil they thought they knew but didn’t (Abbott). Now they don’t want him either!
              It really all goes back to Machiavellian machinations of the media. To them the finger can be well and truly pointed. You got us into this mess – now get us out!

            9. John you have already been shown a real live example of how an economy can go it alone, and benefit from a carbon tax, which has a positive effect in reducing emissions. So why do you continue to repeat this nonsense that it won’t work for NZ? (Just as many said it would not work for BC). BC proved them wrong and continues to be a strengthening economy. Of course it can – it can work for NZ!
              One of the main features of a properly constructed Carbon tax is that it is a progressive tax. Flat taxes severely impact those on low incomes. Carbon taxes by providing the government with a new income stream allow governments to then reduce the income tax take by lowering the levels of taxation on the lower portions of income. (as they have done in BC). Reducing taxes at the bottom end of income improves the take home pay of lower paid workers. the result is a reduction in the levels of poverty, increases in consumption (lower paid workers almost invariably spend all their weekly earning on food, rent, and heating), and boosts the economic performance of the country. Those who spend the most on carbon (the rich, who drive a lot, and over heat their homes, and enjoy fossil fueled activities such as jet skis etc) pay more – as they should.

            10. The great thing about the BC carbon tax is that people can drive over the border to WA to get their gas, which is exactly what they are doing.

            11. You have no evidence to suggest it will be more expensive to follow other countries lead in converting to a low carbon economy. Germany is the pin up country for renewables and it is costing them billions.


              I am often reminded how every year renewables get cheaper and better. If we wait a while, we might get them half price. And tell China that following is more expensive, it is working just fine for them.

              My main problem though is this tax might reduce the joy riding a bit, but what are our truck drivers ment to use? What about our farmers? You will tax them, but there is not viable alternative. So how are they supposed to reduce emissions? Go out of business maybe?. As Noel pointed out, a carbon tax is designed to hurt, as BC business is learning.

              The risks are too great to introduce stupidity like a carbon tax outside a global agreement. And the risk of doing nothing is zero, the climate will not know the difference.

            12. John C
              Your “big” question has been answered in a variety of ways yet your attachment to an extremely selfish and short sighted position twists your understanding of what is said. Never for a moment could you suppose what conflicts with your position might be truer.

              When you cite me you try to twist my meaning. Change is pain to those who cling to the past, and so it should be. Many businessmen squeal at the mere thought that they may have to pay a more realistic price for their resources, or at the prospect of the collapse of the consumerism bubble. Listen to the advertising, It “must end monday”

              Some though have accepted the need to change and found they are better for it. Your attribution of causes is in error over and over again, as you have been shown, so what we see is a propagandist against renewables, against acceptance of responsibility, against any effective action to reduce carbon emissions. You see nothing wrong with maximising your carbon emissions until your mirage of global agreement takes place.

              The nations agree that emissions have to come down, they agreed this in 1990 and many times since but only a few have actually gone for it, the rest held back by your own kind of thinking. Those who have not moved will end up worst off. The climate won’t notice your miniscule contribution you say, and so says everyone with no sense of the commons, or of what is at stake, but that we know to be false.

            13. Sometimes John it’s insightful to read the comments of the articles you link to. Here is one you obviously ignored.

              “There is more to the German switch to renewables than just the economics. Umwelt is part of their culture. They’ve lived on the same patch of ground for centuries and know better than to despoil it for their kin, unlike the throw away retail model of unlimited land use in the USA. They VALUE clean air, water and wildlife. And while there continues to be hand wringing and FUD articles about all this in the US, let me assure you that even in the face of such so-called economy killing regulations, high taxes, union labor and expensive electricity and fuel costs, Germany still manages to produce and export as much stuff as CHINA every year. Not a misprint. So when you hear the pearl clutching of the rightwing money grubbers and Mother Earth raping industry mavens in the US talk about how they could never compete if they paid fair wages and had to conform to laws that would, among other things, protect major cities from having their source of water polluted by a coal industry renegade, just know they are lying their asses off. Enjoy.”

              As for andy — “yawn”… Yes i’m sure! You are aware that it’s at least 1 hours drive from Vancouver to Blaine.

            14. Boring. Again, what, are you 12 years old? Or just another bad-faith troll, long overdue for his own (unaccustomed) dose of moderation.

              You can certainly see why someone who claims he knows what ‘any economist’ would think – solely, we can only assume, on the basis of his own overweening hubris – would be humiliated, yet again, by being shown irrefutably that the majority, in fact, don’t.

              It’s silly, blinkered, arrogant people like you we’ll all have to thank for making the future impossible by opposing all the reasonable measures for so long that we only had the unreasonable options left to resort to when the crunch inevitably came.

              Again, I invite anyone to re-read the above exchanges to see who the dissembling fool is.

  37. Wrong. As stated in my very first post, Key and the National party are ideologues. That’s why they won’t enact any meaningful policy to deal with climate change, and choose to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence and the economic and health benefits.

    This is precisely what we would expect from ideologues.

  38. Ideologues or not, the green movement can’t provide reasons to act now.

    What? Some vague comment about improved health. Petrol fumes are not a major NZ health issue ( if so explain ). A carbon tax is a very heavy handed way of improving our health. No?

    You just say ‘economic benefits’. Can you break these down for me? Please explain alternative transport systems and why they will be cheaper. Keep in mind any increase in the cost of transport could reduce economic activity.

    1. According to the Environment Ministry :

      vehicle-related air pollution in Auckland causes approximately 244 premature deaths, 368,000 restricted activity days and $246 million in health costs per annum

      Strange that you are so unaware of well-established facts such as the impact of vehicle exhaust particulates on human health.

      1. the worst 10% of the vehicles were responsible for over 50% of the total hydrocarbon emissions.96 (copied for same site)

        If cleaning up the air is your goal, banning the 10% of worst offenders will cut emissions in half. Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

        1. Nope. It won’t. It would only cut 50% of the particulates, at most. Those particulates are emitted mainly by trucks. I can see the transport lobby looking kindly at that suggestion.
          Actually the best way is to invest in Public transport. But Keys Govt only reluctantly agreed to further investment in Auckland Public transport, and have delayed further investment until 2015 when the need is clearly now. Patronage in PT is increasing by around 0.7 % pa.
          “Auckland public transport patronage totalled 71,108,511 (adjusted to 71,000,588 to account for a patronage reporting anomaly on the Waiheke Ferry service¹) passengers for the 12 months to Mar-2014, an increase of +0.7% (adjusted to +0.8%¹) on the 12 months to Feb-2014.¹ March monthly patronage was 7,305,925, an increase of 510,826 boardings (adjusted to 573,994¹) or +7.5% on Mar-2013 (adjusted to +8.5%¹), normalised to ~ +3.9% accounting for additional special event patronage and one more business day and one less weekend day in Mar-2014 compared to Mar-2013.”
          Each full bus represents 40 cars off the road, and each full train more than 300 cars. Less cars means vehicles that need to use roads have less congestion and can travel more quickly = less emissions.

            1. And there John we have investment in infrastructure that reduces GHG emissions and at the same time increases human well-being and NZ is not plunged into poverty as you and andy have been suggesting all along. Windmills are needed in the mix for NZ just as is Hydro and geo-thermal and tidal (currently being installed). With more people being transported by electric trains and light rail and busses (e.g. wellington), we begin to reduce our rather sticky GHG transport emissions. But building RONs is simply a huge waste of money.

    1. Quite so Rob, and to that I would add that those who contribute to the effort to reduce emissions are those who make any future agreements and efforts possible. I observe that Sweden, having made the greatest effort of all (75% fossil fuel dependence to 3%), possibly over the longest time, are best placed to take advantage of further possible developments and will not suffer at all the increasingly draconian changes deferred action will require.

      1. Sweden’s next door neighbour, Norway, will be visiting NZ soon as Statoil have been offshore permits in Northland.

        They are quite proud of their oil industry in Norway. There are posters about it all over the train stations, for example.

        1. Yes, Norway is very proud of its oil and gas EXPORTS. They are clever enough to get fossil fuels out of deep water, and not so daft that they rely on burning the stuff themselves.

            1. The clever part is overcoming the technical obstacles. Just to remind you that Norway does benefit from a massive trans national gas network to get gas to consumers. NZ does not, so expensive deep water gas coupled with expensive LNG transport (does NZ have big LNG export port facilities yet) by ship to markets a long way off. Best of luck with that!
              Also, you are rather late to the game so when the bubble does pop, your ratio of investment to revenue is not as cheery as that of the Norwegians.

            1. You may well have noticed that they have the worlds largest per capita fleet of electric cars.

  39. Summarise them for me. Just outline your argument for action outside a global agreement. You have more supporters than detractors on here so I’m sure they will back you.

    Is public health your main reason? Let’s look it it in more detail if it is. Otherwise what are your main reasons?

    1. John C: please stop trolling this thread. Read the comment policy and engage with the points being made. At the moment, intelligent discussion is impossible because you refuse to acknowledge others points, and issue fatuous “challenges”.

      For the record:

      1: there is an international emissions reductions agreement – the Kyoto Protocol. The National government chose to withdraw from the second commitment period. There are also the emissions reductions promised under the Copenhagen Accord. NZ’s happens to be stupidly weak.

      2: A carbon-constrained future is inevitable – either because an international agreement is pout in place in the next few years, or because governments panic when impacts start piling up.

      3: The most economically efficient way to adapt to carbon constraints is to begin adjusting as soon as possible, especially to avoid “lock in” to high carbon investments. If NZ waits until the last possible minute to act, then adaptation will be much more expensive than it need have been.

      4: Early adaptation need not be costly, in fact it brings many economic co-benefits (see IPCC WG3). As an example, an aggressive programme of energy efficiency (insulation, low energy lighting etc) saves money for consumers through lower energy bills and reduces the need for extra power generation.

      5: Making it clear to agriculture that future emissions will be charged will help to promote diversification towards carbon storage and low emissions, high value crops. It makes no sense to be chopping down trees to create dairy farms, when those trees have real carbon value and dairy real carbon costs.

      6: Google “first mover advantage”, and then read some of the reports prepared by the Pure Advantage group referred to in the original post.

      Now: either engage with the material or I will put you on moderation.

  40. 1. Is irrelevant now days
    2. Maybe, my argument is act with others when the rules are clearer.
    3. The European renewables experiment would suggest otherwise. I take your point about locking in high cannon investments but either way we need viable alternatives before we can change our energy use.
    4. Early adaption is proving very costly in Europe. I agree with your point about energy efficiency though.
    5. History has shown the market should decide what crops we plan or what we farm not the government. Plenty of people got very burnt planting trees for carbon credits. This is would also cost jobs.
    6. Are Europe experiencing that ‘first mover advantage ?’

    I don’t like having to repeat myself, but if you read the above comments you will find I always answer direct questions but can’t get the same in return.

    1. Remarkable. Your assertions in reply do not appear to be grounded in any reality. You appear to be making stuff up and/or ignoring things you find inconvenient to your pre-existing views. Please: engage with the facts of the matter, or I will put you on moderation.

    2. 1 is “irrelevant” because the Key government amongst others did everything in its power to make it so.
      2-4. Are you seriously trying to tell us the the most powerful economy in europe is going to the dogs because it has investing in renewables??
      5. The collapse of the ETS as structured in NZ is directly attributable to the Key government. Those who planted in good faith should be taking them to court!
      6. Yes.

      1. Are you seriously trying to tell us the the most powerful economy in europe is going to the dogs because it has investing in renewables??

        There is quite a lot of evidence that Germany is having serious problems with its energy policies.

        Furthermore, they are burning lignite now.
        This TV show (German with English subtitles), really puts the boot in, sorry ..

          1. This “youtube nonsense” is a German TV show making fun of their cultish coalition and their crazy energy policy

            When the Germans start to laugh at themselves you know you are in trouble

            1. A TV show by whom? and what is their motive and by whom are they funded? Do you ever ask yourself these questions andy? They are paramount to any sensible research.

            2. A TV show by whom? and what is their motive and by whom are they funded? Do you ever ask yourself these questions andy?

              All the time, Macro. “They” are all part of the conspiracy.
              German TV shows, Daily Telegraph columnists, Breibart,

              All a massive global conspiracy funded by Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers.

              Isn’t it amazing how “they” manage it all?

            3. You are the fool andy if you are unaware of the connections which are well documented.
              Yet you seem to believe in the conspiracy of 97% of world climate scientists and their “global warming hoax”.

            4. I don’t believe in any conspiracy of 97 scientists and a hoax. What makes you think that?
              The German TV show is presumably what we generally know as satire

              They cite a report from Angela Merkels advisors that state that the Engergiewende isn’t working out that well. Presumably this report actually exists and isn’t part of some denialist conspiracy.

            5. Yes I am well aware of that report andy. But it is not all that you want to make it out to be. Germany, following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster committed itself to replacing all it nuclear power plants by 2022. These were to have been phased out by 2036 but the earlier date has put greater stress on their capacity to meet this deadline. That is why they are replacing old coal fires plants with new more efficient ones which will be used in the intermediate term for base load supply. Two years later the perhaps hasty decision is being reviewed. But I expect that they will still maintain the goal of continuing to rapidly increase their renewables.
              The spin Meister who prepared the so-called “report” that the telegraph and the video base their “stories” upon is funded by an organisation that is directly funded by Koch. An organisation which is the direct equivalent of Heartland in the states. My comment above still stands.

    3. Saying you are not required to support your arguments with actual evidence is not a direct answer John C, it’s evasion. Most likely you choose evasion because no evidence exists to substantiate your claims. You could prove me wrong by linking to a reputable source……

    4. And by the by, the only reason NZ foresters got “burned”, as you put it, is because the National government watered down the ETS, and allowed the use in NZ of cheap overseas carbon credits.

      1. Yes, the perils of Government controlled markets.

        With respect Gareth, I think the issue of NZ climate action needs to be addressed. I’m sure you are well sick of my repeated question on here but I can’t get any sort of answer the NZ public are likely to accept. Saving the planet has been discounted for obvious reasons. A carbon tax is a very heavy handed way of cleaning the air (try regulating to dirty vehicles first). I have got everything thing from ‘it will be good for the economy’ to ‘I’m glad business are hurting, a carbon tax needs to hurt to promote change’.

        I know you guys are passionate about carbon taxes and the like, but you must agree there are no good reasons for acting before a global agreement. I think its time you stop attacking National for acting responsibly. You can’t go on demanding something without explaining why we must have it.

        1. I suggest putting your top 3 or 4 reasons for action in a post then we can debate them one by one. Come on, you guys are all experts, I’m sure I will come away looking embarrassed. Still it’s worth understanding eachothers points.

          Up for it?

        2. Are you completely out of your mind? Govt’s control all markets there is NO SUCH THING as a “Free” market of the kind you are espousing . Regulations set by govt cover almost every aspect of trade. The regulations that were in place originally – were REMOVED by national to the detriment of the those who had relied on the stability of the market originally in place.
          Rewrite history as much as you like! but your argument is rubbish.

    1. The Foreign Policy magazine of today is not the Foreign Policy magazine it once was – it now more of a mouth piece for its owners The Washington Post. So the article you link to (behind a subscriber wall) is most likely biased to reflect the ideals of the 1%ers and hence of little value.
      Renewables have NOT increased the cost of energy
      (for the US – each country has its own energy mix and these figures will differ widely from country to country) Note the cost of Coal based generation does NOT include the high externalised costs of poor health
      and increased carbon emissions (i.e. the public are subsidising coal by bearing these costs).

  41. You guys are a bunch of dreamers if you think Europe is benefiting from their renewables efforts. For a start many of the successful firms are forced to produce their own electricity to compete.

    If it has been so successful why are no other countries rushing to copy them? And why is German business complaining so much?

    And you keep saying I’m wrong but you are scared to point out which point and why. I’m sure I will be on moderation soon, you have no answers and you hate me reminding you about it.

    1. Your link proves nothing but propaganda from the pro-nuclear world. It makes sense for large industries to produce their own renewable energy, but of course that doesn’t please large producers of electricity such as the nuclear industry so they spin that sort of story. Muppet!

    2. John C, did you read the first comment in your link? I have no idea as to it’s veracity, and can’t yet be bothered to investigate further, but Fibb writes:

      “Germany has super low wholesale electricity prices and industry pays very little for power. “Retail electricity rates are up; Germany has the second-highest in the EU after Denmark. But industry doesn’t pay retail rates. The rates they pay differ greatly, however, depending upon which exemptions to surcharges are granted. Firms with the greatest power consumption (that is, the ones with the most exemptions) paid as little as around 0.05 euros per kilowatt-hour in 2013.
      Also for more background please see

      German wholesale power prices have fallen about 30% just in the past
      two years to near eight-year lows, putting big utilities that
      underinvested in renewables under severe profit pressure.
      Even so, Germans pay a lot for their household electricity, about
      $0.34/kWh in 2012. The household tariff includes a “renewables
      surcharge,” expected to amount to roughly $249 per three-person household this year. That’d be three-fifths smaller
      if households weren’t subsidizing many businesses, mainly large
      ones—exempted from nearly the whole renewables charge, allegedly to
      boost German competitiveness—by 3–4 billion Euros a year. Yet German industry enjoys the lower spot prices that renewables create, so it pays about the same for electricity as it did in 1978, and less than French industry pays today

      Very different to your account, but whether this is correct or not I don’t know. Interesting nevertheless.

  42. All the coal they are now burning will help keep the prices down a bit. The energiewende by its design requires payments above market rates for renewables. It is impossible to reduce power prices with that mechanism.

    Again, if it’s such a good system countries will be rushing to follow suit. No need the regulate then.

    1. All the coal they are burning now will substantially increase GHG’s beyond the 400ppm at present. Coal is worse than oil and gas which is why Hansen has advocated keeping the coal in the ground There is no such thing as “clean coal”. The quicker the world can transition from FF to a non-carbon energy the better.

    2. “Again, if it’s such a good system countries will be rushing to follow suit. No need the regulate then.” assuming that there is no such thing as market failure, oh there is, what a shame.
      Even though the change in petrol prices encourages drivers to change from V8 gas guzzlers to something a lot less mental, not every owner of a bought and paid for V8 changes straight away, continuing to run the CO2 spewing and expensive fuel gobbling V8 (or Coal power plant) costs less than disposing of the V8 and financing a new more efficient car. That is why lots of countries offer incentives to encourage a more rapid transition. In the UK we have cheaper tax for lower CO2 cars (road fund licence and tax on company car benefit). As a result a typical company car large saloon has as good CO2 emissions as the most efficient special edition mini car from 10 years ago (the Audi A2 with OTT extra weight saving like thinner glass) – progress and investment spurred on by incentives. Likewise we have subsidies for renewables to displace generation from the existing bought and paid for coal and gas plants. Without these incentives the coal and gas plant owners would run it to death, squeezing every £ of value out of it.

        1. John C, I have watched the total nonsense you have spurted out on this blog with disbelief. You seem to be stuck in a 20st century mindset, in a time when exponential economic growth and ridiculously low cost of energy dominated peoples agendas. You need to wake up if you want to have any relevance whatsoever in the debate about the future!

          The world has arrived at the dangerous juncture of wrecking the planet precisely because of the attitude you and people like you represent. An attitude that cares only about personal benefits and nothing whatsoever about the long term consequences of your actions.

          Energy provided by exploiting our ‘once in our planetary history’ hydro carbon compounds while wrecking the intricate balance of the carbon cycle of our ecosphere has been the enabler of the exponential growth of the past century and it has become the Achilles heel of our civilization as we know it.

          As Gareth pointed out: The future will be one of very low carbon emissions and carbon fuels. The sooner we are leading the way there and the sooner we rid ourselves of the ossified mindset that you represent the better for us all.
          The big fossil fuel powered party of the 20st century is coming to an end, like it or not and ready or not!
          And yes, it will be a massive task to ween our society off fossil fuels. It will cost a lot as you say. But what you totally forget is what we hope to get from our investment in return: A planet that is maintaining a functioning ecosystem, life as we know it in the oceans and a future that is independent from unsustainable practices. Now that is priceless! And if we have to sacrifice some your “consumer society entitlement thinking” that seems to so completely blind your vision, then all the better for it and especially for our children and their descendents.

          1. You forgot to mention the diesel generators that are springing up because of the availability of broadband. That is an important part of modern society.

            Oh, and the lignite that your countrymen are burning in their power stations.

            1. And how much more of this would they have burned if they did not already have a significant solar and wind component?? I think a while back in time I gave you the task to work out how long the coal train would be that would have been needed to replace the current alternative electricity generation of Germany with coal (as would have been required if you and your coal loving chomp John C would have been calling the shots….)
              I guess you forgot that lesson. Perhaps you are so kind to remind us here….!

            2. If they had kept their nuclear fleet they wouldn’t be burning all this coal.

              Furthermore, it appears that fracking in the USA has decreased co2 emissions by more than all the solar and wind in the entire world combined.

              I don’t love coal, as you claim. I dislike dogma that adheres to so called solutions that don’t work and never will work.

              Eventually, you will get the message

            3. The economy is a subset of the environment not the other way round. This is a common misconception of many. Without an environment there would be no economy.

              What germany is facing is a flawed electricity market. Much like our own.

          2. ” The future will be one of very low carbon emissions and carbon fuels. ”

            The distant future no doubt Thomas. And in the meantime we would do well to conserve what oil we can to use as a feedstock in that future. We might also do well to use natural gas to power our vehicles , and when that becomes too scarce/expensive , we should be converting coal to liquid fuel.

            The question really is what do we do in the immediate future for electricity. This is where we need to spend a LOT of money.
            The source must be cheap , clean and renewable, and be able to provide consistent base load.
            Where will this money come from?

            1. “Where will this money come from?”
              1) Lets start by abandoning the current fossil fuel tax subsidies. That’s a cool 1/2 of a trillion dollars according to the World Bank. Annually!
              2) If society realizes the full extent of the damage done to the planet due to our current fossil fuel habits the cost of changing will seem small compared to the cost of wrecking the planet. Consumerism ideologies will pale into insignificance in comparison.
              We are currently finding massive amounts of money to spend on nonsense consumer items. Surely collectively we can do better. And all research tells us that the cost of change will be lower if we start sooner than later.

            2. Presumably these so called fossil fuel subsidies include the lack of taxation on agricultural diesel that your recent article cited.

              So let’s tax farmers for road user charges for driving on their land, that would be fair.

              We could also impose a tax on Chinese made clothes that everyone buys from the Warehouse and K mart. That would be fair.

              Most of the fossil fuel subsidies are applied to developing nations. We could remove them. That would be fair

              So, every single one of your fair policies would negatively affect the poor and have little effect on the well off.

              Now try and get that through on a left wing political platform

              Good luck.

            3. “1) Lets start by abandoning the current fossil fuel tax subsidies.”

              Where is that money coming from? And who is the ultimate beneficiary?

            4. Who do you think? Who normally gives tax subsidies? And who pays for them? And who normally benefits from these subsidies? Remember the sheep subsidies (as an example say) – who paid, and who benefited? Now apply to the fossil fuel industry. It’s not hard.

            5. The age old rhetorical question “Where’s the money coming from?” was meant by AndyS as a show stopper. It is to those who are locked into the lifesyle that may have to change. It has variations much employed by the doomsayers who reject the need to change. Nevertheless the question is worth thinking on further.

              Money is a symbol for human energy by which useful illusion, we acquire some mobility. The short answer is money comes from people and returns to people – if all is well. Energy locked up is not doing work. Our attachments lock up energy and prevent us seeing clearly. When we use the word economy we tend to mean the financial activity. This is also an illusion hugely sensitivity to the emotional weather of we, the participants.

              In the seventies the idea of energy accounting was floated, perhaps to find a way to realistic pricing.. I read a few papers attempting to implement that idea but beyond revealing areas where energy was being locked up or wasted, it did not seem to get very far – it might have pricked the fast growing consumerism bubble.

              Yet energy accounting is just what is happening with climate science, with emissions monitoring, and with various proposals for changing our behaviour away from harm. “The source of all pain is attachment”, said the Buddha Gautama. Our attachment to fossil fuels needs to be broken.

              Of course we would not have this problem had we been able to remain within the great cycles that maintain life as we know it – the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the hydrological cycle. What would a dolphin do with dollars?
              The portability of humal effort through money has certainly given us problems as well as benefits.

              A tax on carbon emissions biases endeavour away from carbon emitting technologies. The money comes from all people generating carbon emissions. In British Colunbia it goes straight back to the people – which gets the government supporting it re-elected while emissions are reducing. In Sweden the money is filtered through a certification scheme that promotes diversification and development of carbon zero or carbon neutral .technologies while the economy has remained strong.
              It is a form of energy acounting.

              The money comes from people, the beneficiaries are people. In between is decision and the development of appropriate responses which is what we are about.

            6. I never asked where does the money come from. It was someone else.

              The answer is fairly obvious though. The consumer pays.

            7. Yes Andy, the consumer pays. The consumer always pays in the end! And yes, it will be hard. Nobody will promise you that this transition will be easy nor that you or anybody else can keep our current fossil fuel powered lifestyle. Sorry if you had that impression.

              At the moment the consumer pays for our lifestyle with a stack of I.O.U.s against the future and against the ability of future generations to have a planet and an ecosystem that resembles what we inherited ourselves. In fact, the consumer is using the planet as a giant ATM machine to fund our current lifestyle from a Faustian debt agreement: “I give you a fantastic lifestyle for a century or two, if you allow me to kill your planet in return”. That Andy, Bio and John C and the rest of the ACT meme peddlers, that is your deal. Good luck!

              We need to start reducing that debt burden. And starting to do so NOW will be significantly cheaper for the consumer than waiting another couple of decades and do something LATER. As with all debt situations, doubling down and taking another loan (a.k.a burning more and more fossil fuels driving society deeper into depending on them) will make the solution in the end so much worse! This should be self evident even to the logger heads of the ACT party and their sympathizers.

            8. So, Thomas, Germany pays three times as much for electricity as the USA and germanr has increased Co2 emissions over the last year. They burn lignite in their power stations, not to mention plastic bottles.

              The USA has significantly decrcreased their co2 emissions, by switching to natural gas. They have much cheaper energy costs.

              Can you explain why you think the German solution is better?

    1. yes but
      “The share of electricity produced from renewable energy in Germany has increased from 6.3 percent of the national total in 2000 to about 25 percent in the first half of 2012.[1][2] In 2011 20.5% (123.5 TWh) of Germany’s electricity supply (603 TWh) was produced from renewable energy sources, more than the 2010 contribution of gas-fired power plants.[3][4] In 2010, investments totaling 26 billion euros were made in Germany’s renewable energies sector. Germany has been called “the world’s first major renewable energy economy”.[5]” wiki

        1. I am also impressed with German will and persistence despite mistakes and very large obstacles. Last night I watched an episode of Silent Witness wherein the point was made that the first heart transplant patient died after 18 days, yet that was not taken as an argument against heart transplant which is now routinely carried out throughout the world.

    1. Bio, if you can’t bring yourself to accept the overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence that humans are responsible for global warming and ocean acidification there seems to be little point in you commenting here.

    2. The article you linked started factually but ended fatuously. That does not engage with anyone that has taken the trouble to understand climate science. Physics is not vague trends should not be ignored.

      The matter of engagement you raise is important. One of the lead authors of the IPCC report on mitigation commented that where she comes from it is hard to mention climate without getting irrational assertions back (as in that Pickering post) however, she reckoned she could engage with the same people on grounds of their own recent experience. There are some people locked into certain notions – too expensive etc – with whom there can be no engagement.I have found I can engage with you on much and I do know you understand the commons and know what you are talking about in matters of agricultural sustainablity. You could and do engage with serious discussion here on many points until you link to stuff like the latest that simply results in polarization. So yes there remains room for thoughtful and inclusive discussion on energy as you say, or mitigation, or adaptation, or …whatever, but “climate change” is a term and topic that will not go away – nor should it..

      1. The point of the link was to show that talking about climate change in the way that is now de rigeur, will result in little or no action on CO2 emissions reduction except where that is clearly economic.
        Yours is a reasoned response, in marked contrast to the other, which illustrates my point.

        I presumed that the main point of this blog is to bring about change. There are indeed changes which would have the overwhelming support of the population at large (slight exaggeration perhaps) but climate change as a cause cél`ebre is not doing the job.

        A change of tack is now called for, in my view.

          1. I think that Noel was referring to the weather and climate link ; certainly I was.
            It’s just above this.

            The german link is more political than scientific and it’s obviously humour.

    3. Bio, what on Earth are you doing back here? ” Invoking some as yet inconclusive hypothesis about climate….”
      As long as you are in complete denial of the state of climate science you should simply bark up another tree. I am sure there will be a branch of some flat Earth society near you. Cozy up to them.

      1. It was just so obvious , to me at least, that you are never going to achieve the future that we all want for this country if you were to continue on your present path which will likely see you marginalised and consigned to irrelevance.
        So I thought I would see if I could do something to help. Maybe you are right : it could be pointless.

        1. You are not helping as you are clearly still in denial of the science, so yes, your comments are at the end pointless as people who are in denial will not make positive contributions until the denial is finally overcome. For some people that unfortunately won’t happen.

          1. ” clearly still in denial of the science, ”
            Science is a process Thomas. There is no such thing as THE science.
            The problem is right there in your erroneous statement. I am not in any sort of denial.
            And that is why you attract little or no support for your cause.

            1. It was you Bio who said: “Invoking some as yet inconclusive hypothesis about climate….”.

              It is blatantly obvious that you hold our current understanding of AGW as a “yet inconclusive hypothesis”. That is what I would call DENIAL in the face of mountains of evidence and a near unanimous support of the scientific community that our understanding of AGW (and many of its dire consequences including ocean acidification) are absolutely no longer at the state of an “inconclusive hypothesis” but a sound body of scientific evidence.

              Bio you are a Denialist at heart. You have made that perfectly clear.

            2. So anyone who expresses any uncertainty whatsoever, about The Science, is a Denilalist?

              Wouldn’t this include most scientists and the IPCC too?

            3. Andy you are once again making silly straw men arguments from the stuffing of your Golliwog head…

              When Bio calls the entire AGW science “an inconclusive hypothesis” then that is a ridiculous statement, far from the truth, and shows that he is in complete denial.

              Denial something entirely different than sharing the usual scientific skepticism and openness to allow any new evidence to enter the debate and being given due attention. Denial and scientific skepticism are tow entirely different dispositions.

            4. So it is not an inconclusive hypothesis? The hypothesis is 100% true.

              Remind me again what the hypothesis is. I don’t think that is stated anywhere, unless I am mistaken.

            5. It clearly shows that Bio does not understand the science, despite his claim that he has read every published journal in the literature. What Thomas says is absolutely correct. To make such a statement clearly indicates woeful misunderstanding on Bio’s and your part. As has been pointed out before we are now 95 – 99% certain that Human activity causing an increase in GHG is causing the planet to warm overrides any natural forcing. That is the status of that hypothesis tested endlessly by hundreds of different researchers around the globe. To say that is “inconclusive” is just nonsense – it’s about as conclusive as you can get! And you are aware that that there will never be 100% certainty aren’t you?
              “Extremely Likely” is defined as “95 – 100% probability” WG1 pg 2
              “It is extremely likely that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010. This assessment is supported by robust evidence from multiple studies using different methods.” AR5 WG1 p60
              “extremely likely” is defined as “95 – 100% probability” WG1 pg 2

            6. ” “an inconclusive hypothesis” ‘

              You must be punch-drunk Thomas.
              Nobody has concluded that catastrophe is certain to result from an increase in atmospheric CO2, at any level of certainty. We do not know that it will happen , or that it won’t . We just don’t know that much about climate. You need to take some deep breaths and then take a good hard look at what we actually do know about climate.

              I won’t be holding my breath though. I think it is beyond you , having dug this hole for yourself.
              Nowhere did I say that “the entire AGW science (is) “an inconclusive hypothesis” .

              You made that up.
              If you want to seriously influence the future of this country , you will have to stop making false accusations , and you will have to stop the persistent labelling and name -calling.
              It’s not working for you.

              But I think that you may already know that, hence your vituperation.

            7. Biofarmer, your comment above falls foul f HT’s comment policy by deliberately misrepresenting the facts of the matter – specifically here:

              We do not know that it will happen , or that it won’t . We just don’t know that much about climate. You need to take some deep breaths and then take a good hard look at what we actually do know about climate.

              We know to a very high degree of certainty that the climate system is warming, that we caused it, and that it will continue to warm to levels unprecedented since humans evolved unless we stop polluting the atmosphere with carbon. Go read IPCC WG1 with an open mind, and then come back here to discuss what we do and don’t know about this planet’s climate system.

              If you persist in abusing HT’s comment policy in this way, your comments will be held in moderation until I determine whether they should be published or not.

            8. You are aware of the reason for the existence of the IPCC Bio?
              People were wondering at what level of warming would CATASTROPHIC climate change occur? This was in the 1980’s. That’s when the governments of the world formed the IPCC to ADVISE them.
              We know what is more than likely to happen now – and yes it will be catastrophic.

            9. You don’t get it do you? Never mind.
              Have fun. I expect that you will achieve nothing . You can just carry on calling people silly names if that is what makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with being “voices crying in the wilderness”, but you must expect that you will have little effect on the future of NZ if you persist with your separatist tactics.

            10. Actually it will probably be the complete opposite – people will begin to listen to the science as the climate further unravels . They should have listened much earlier, but there you go.

        2. Irrelevance? That’s just wishful thinking. The consequences of global warming and ocean acidification will grow ever more harmful and therefore begin to intrude upon the lives of the general public – suffering tends to focus one’s attention. The chances of the public in the future ignoring the looming threat grows smaller with each passing year.

          However, it could transpire that global action is left too late to prevent the collapse of many ecosystems and economies, it appears too late to save coral reefs for instance. If that does happen, what will be the current world leaders excuse? The best available science and economics are quite clear on the issue, so they can’t mealy-mouth their way out of it.

  43. By the way Biofarmer, I left a link a while back on solar energy calculations I thought might be handy for evaluation of your PV proposals. Did you spot it?

  44. I think that all we owe our great grandchildren is half a chance of a peaceful sustainable society. We can’t possibly imagine the circumstances at those future times.
    I think of my great grand father Von Wischnowski escaping from Pomerania underneath a horse-drawn hand -stacked cart load of hay.
    He could not have imagined the world as I find it to be. It seems ridiculous for me to say that I know what it will be like 150 years from now.

    There is more to a sustainable peaceful society than just the physical environment, but readers of this site could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

  45. I think we can be fairly confident that a sustainable peaceful society is not possible under a business-as-usual fossil fuel emission pathway.

    All those people competing for fewer and fewer resources and food will not be pretty. That’s why the military is so involved in with climate change science.

  46. I agree with you Bio, the alarmist way climate change is portrayed (examples above) will just cause people to dig in, rather than want to change. The ‘effects’ of climate change are just not that significant at the moment so it’s impossible to use the ‘warming’ climate as leverage to implement actions. The well publicised pause has really put a spanner in the works as far as public opinion goes. I tend to lean towards there being some human induced warming but the scientists are far from convinced it will be catostrophic.

    Adaption as required is by far the best policy. (People forget that if China and the USA dont enter a global carbon agreement a NZ carbon tax is useless).

    1. Interesting to note that the link you provide concludes thus:

      97% of working climate scientists say the temperature is rising, and human activity is a significant contributing factor.

      You assert that “the effects of climate change are just not that significant at the moment”. This is simply not true, and by repeating this assertion you are deliberately misrepresenting the facts of the matter (check IPCC WG2 SPM if you are in any doubt). That’s what got biofarmer put on moderation. Be warned.

  47. John C – Ah, the Quantum Theory of Climate Denial rears its head again.

    After many comments here claiming you did not dispute the overwhelming scientific evidence in support of human-caused climate change, it turns out that you do afterall.

    Maybe, just like a quantum superposition, you hold both (and all possible) beliefs simultaneously and, depending on the comment, you collapse into one particular state – either agreeing with the scientific consensus, or disagreeing with it.

    1. Double 🙂 🙂

      I repeat what I’ve said several times already. John C is only here to poison the well on behalf of inaction. Just read the above.

  48. The climate is warming (over the larger time scales) and I’m sure humans are contributing. I was talking about catostrophic climate change. I could not find the percentage of scientists that think climate change will be dangerous. I’m guessing not that many. Maybe someone here knows?

    The upper NI had a great summer and mild winter, except for a few farmers I don’t hear too many people complaining. People seem to get more worked up about animal testing than climate change these days. You can’t be suggesting people are outraged with the current climate are you?

    It’s also important to differentiate between climate and weather. The climate has not warmed in recent years, although it’s fair to say the weather is as changeable as ever.

    1. John C, your ignorance is breathtaking!

      In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. The survey found…..Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; and 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.

      From: Bray, Dennis; von Storch, Hans (2009)

      John C, you, like your compatriots, simply make stuff up as you go. The reality however….

  49. What did I make up this time?

    You link confirms up to 84% of scientists think climate change poses only a moderate danger! That level of threat will not bring in your global carbon tax any time soon. Thanks for clearing that up Thomas.

    1. Gotja! Again, you did it! You made stuff up from thin air!

      The link I provided said: “and 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.

      While you twist this into something quite different by simply omitting the “ very great danger” part of it. Not only that, you then add the little word “only“. This does not at all appear in the source. You have gone from dropping a significant part to then lying completely by adding the “only”. How risible you little troll you!!

      So from: ” 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.” (source, Bray, Dennis; von Storch, Hans (2009))
      we get to: “84% of scientists think climate change poses only a moderate danger! ” (John C, Risible Climate Change Denial Spin Doctor and Con-Artist)

      Thank you for this little demonstration on how the wicked twisted and risible mind of a typical climate denial activist works. All can see here how this John C fabricates statements from thin air, misquotes sources and makes a fine mess of it all!

      Gareth, this is so good, can we archive this one for all to see?

  50. No I got you Thomas. You omitted the little ‘up to’ I slipped in there. So I am not claiming all the 84% of scientists are saying the effects will only be moderate, but a portion and ‘up to’ all of them do. Unless you break it down into those that think it will be moderate and those that think it will be very great, this is a fair conclusion.

    ‘Moderate’ is less than ‘catostrophic’ so the ‘only’ is justified.

    So who was twisting who’s words again Thomas?

    1. Good grief, not only is John C illiterate when it comes to science he is unable to understand and interpret rather simple English. Does anyone actually think that John C got past Grade 6 in his education? I don’t but it does look like he has an advanced degree in dishonesty though.

  51. What part of ‘up to’ 84% of scientists think effects will be moderate are you struggling with Ian?

    A closer read will find Thomas mis-quoted me. How embassing to find out after a top notch rant like that.

    1. Given that you misrepresented the full import of the story in your comment, you have nothing to complain about.

      This sort of behaviour – deliberate misrepresentation of the facts – is against comment policy here. Final warning.

    2. John C is being even more dishonest. He refuses to acknowledge that his ” 84% of scientists think climate change poses only a moderate danger! ” is completely distorting what the authors stated in their paper. That is dishonesty plain and simple.

      Here is what the actual authors said:

      Based on current trends, 41% of scientists believe global climate change will pose a very great danger to the earth in the next 50 to 100 years, compared to 13% who see relatively little danger. Another 44% rate climate change as moderately dangerous.

      So Thomas’ “84%” should actually be “85%” 41% who believe climate change will be “a very great danger” and 44% who believe climate change will be “moderately dangerous”.

      Dishonest people like John C should not be allowed to post their lies on a science blog, science is based on the honesty of the participants which disallows almost all AGW deniers.

  52. Thanks for breaking it down further. I had no intention to mislead, I was only referencing the information quoted by Thomas.

    So 44% of scientists think the climate change will be moderatly dangerous. That is still quite a lot saying it won’t be catastrophic. How does this line up with your assertions that the science is certain and climate change will be catostrophic?

  53. moderately: to a certain extent; quite; fairly
    dangerous: able or likely to cause harm or injury
    moderately dangerous : “fairly likely to cause harm or injury”
    catastrophic: “involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering”

    The argument as to whether something is catastrophic or moderately dangerous is one of degree.
    The initial question of the IPCC was to consider whether the world was warming as a result of human activity (i.e. burning fossil fuels and deforestation) – it is.
    The second question was to consider what increase in temperature would be dangerous. The initial response was the an increase in global warming of around 2 degrees C above pre industrial levels would lead to catastrophic outcomes. To date we have had about 0.8 degree C of warming and it is still increasing (despite what the denialists say is a “pause” or hiatus). Even with this “small” increase in global temperatures we have seen substantial changes in weather pattens, with for instance the greatest storm on the eastern sea board ever recorded “sandy”, Heat waves in Europe, unprecedented winter storms in Britian, Drought in California, Massive typhoons in the Phillipines , and so on and on. All of these extreme weather events have had catastrophic consequences for the people affected.They have had many fatal outcomes and huge destruction of property and infrastructure. A study carried out by J Hansen et al showed that extreme weather events, such as I have exampled, are increasing, and are a result of global warming. This is what we should expect from the science and the science is proving to predict these outcomes. Insurance companies such as Munich RE are aware of this, and are predicting that in the future they will not be able to continue with insurance as it currently is.
    So what is Catastrophic or “merely” “moderately dangerous” and at what level of warming are we talking about? 1 degree or 2 or 3 or 4? The science is quite clear. The hotter it gets the more dangerous the outcomes. And we haven’t even begun to consider the effects of continued sea level rise which with todays CO2 concentrations of 400 ppm would indicate that it will be substantial.

  54. 44% is up to 84%. How is that a lie and why should I be banned on that basis. I was proven correct.

    Those figures really put the climate scare in context. Scientists are evenly split between catastrophe and moderate.

    1. You lying denier!!!!! It is your use of only where your dishonesty lies. You obviously know that and that is why you are continually being shown to be dishonest liar.

      Please remove dishonest people like this lying denier. His use of “only” completely distorts the findings of the report Thomas cited.

  55. What is wrong with saying 44% of scientists think climate change will ‘only’ be moderatly dangerous to humans? When you are lead to believe the science has concluded it will be catostrophic, the fact it might ‘only’ be moderately dangerous is a natural figure of speech.

    If I was Gareth I would be more concerned about this whopper by Macro…..

    We know what is more than likely to happen now – and yes it will be catastrophic.

    As discussed, only 41% on scientists agree with this statement! (less than agree with my moderatly dangerous statement I might add). So will we get some consistency here Gareth?

  56. Does John C think we cannot see through his dishonest comments? There is nothing wrong with the statement:

    What is wrong with saying 44% of scientists think climate change will ‘only’ be moderatly dangerous to humans?

    Where he lied was in his original statement where he said and has since denied on a number of occasions:

    ” 84% of scientists think climate change poses only a moderate danger! ”

    That statement completely distorts what was said in the cited report since 41% of the scientists surveyed said that “global climate change will pose a very great danger”.

    How much longer are you going to continue to lie to us John C? It sure shows how low people like you are willing to go. Maybe you did make a mistake so why don’t you acknowledge that you were repeatedly wrong otherwise you will only give us further evidence that you are a continual liar?

  57. Back to Risk Management: If over 40% of scientists think that AGW poses a very great danger than who on Earth would not want to protect the planet and our future against this outcome.

    If tomorrow some 40% of astronomers would tell us that a significant asteroid that is going to hit Earth in 10 years, will cause an extinction level event, would we sit on our hands to see if the others are correct who say that the impact might only erase a country or two but not kill the rest of us? Or would we undertake the best engineering effort possible to divert it somehow? I bet even John C would be happy to install an Asteroid Tax to pay for the diversion efforts.

  58. I said ‘up to’ 84%!!!!!!! Wake up Ian!

    I agree Thomas, 40% represents quits a risk still. My point was more around Bio’s point that it’s by no means certain we are heading for catostrope. I am not against global action if we all chip to help.

    1. Still a bloody liar. Your dishonest comment is the word ONLY. You said that:

      84% of scientists think climate change poses only a moderate danger!

      When the report says that:

      41% of the scientists surveyed said that “global climate change will pose a very great danger”

      If you add these two numbers up you get more than 100%. Are you as illiterate in maths as you are in English and science?

      You are just a bloody dishonest liar!

  59. Are you happy with the accuracy of Macro’s statement Ian? I’m interested to know if your high standards apply to everyone or just the people you disagree with. I am worried if you don’t visibly challange Macro on this you may look bias. We don’t want that to happen now do we?

    1. It’s not a case of disagreeing or not, it is a case of you being a blatant liar. Why can’y you say some thing honest for once?

  60. Read to original statement Ian. The information quoted allows for all or none of the 84% to believe the affects will be moderate. My statement reflects this. I later refined my statement when more detailed information was provided. Only you are struggling with this Ian. Move on.

    1. More bloody lies. The problem lies with your insertion of the word ONLY. That distorts what was said. Own up or I hope you will be banned for continuing to lie.

  61. Last time I checked 44% fits into the ‘up to 84%’ category. Talk about padantic.

    Are you going to let Macros false statement slide are you?

  62. ‘Only’ is a figure of speech and I explained above why I used the term.

    Gareth, I’m worried this blog will be accused of bias and lose credibility if you do not come down on both sides evenly for inaccuracies. Macro’s whopper is going unchallenged.

    1. The only person suffering a credibility crisis is you, John C. Caught out in a misrepresentation of the facts. The criticism you’re receiving is entirely justified. Accept it with good grace and move on.

    2. So my so-called “Whopper” is that we already know what lies ahead –
      and that it will be catastrophic.
      I suppose this is not catastrophic:
      nor this
      nor this (and yes John studies have linked that to limate change. (that was 10 years ago incidentally)
      nor this there have been 40 in the last few days.. And yep scientists are now linking these to climate change as well.
      Look john I could go on and on listing catastrophic weather events around the globe and guess what? They are predicted to be more frequent and more intense as we continue to heat up the planet.
      Moderately dangerous?? I guess you could say that – depends on where you are at the time doesn’t it.
      If your in the middle of it – well then you couldn’t be blamed for saying it was catastrophic.

  63. I’ve been watching though consumed with the effort to restore my computer and two years of work after a particularly nasty event. Some observations:

    John C is enjoying himself trying to get as many responses as posible – perhaps the FUD fly gets paid this way or by the length of the thread. I concur with the view that he is not in any way arguing in good faith, twisting whatever is written. He’s rather obvious. I quite agree with Thomas and Bill and Macro and all as to the lack of integrity displayed.

    I’ll take up one point. It would certainly be best if everyone were on the same page with respect to ways of limiting carbon – particularly with CAP & Trade which I honestly doubt is the best way and have said so before. But it does not have to be that way, A CAP and Trade system or an ETS is not the same as a carbon tax.

    Bio disappointed me. I believe in engagement but after all just trotting out the same old unsupportable denialist memes is not engagement, is not good faith discussion, its FUD.
    “Science is a process” he said. I agree. Look up a big enough dictionary and you will find that in essence science is a way of knowing.. We’ve only been at climate science about 187 years and rather a lot of scientists are working on it now so humanity is becoming conscious of climate as distinct from local weather. We already know quite a lot about climate and what drives it. There are quite a few good introductory , sites and books available which do not include the denialist ru bbish. Check the links, references and reviews on this site for starters.

    Bio used an alluring term: inclusive, and then called us separatists because we did not include denialist memes in our understanding of climate. Separation of the false from the true (mental discrimination) is essential to understanding. The denialist agenda is to confuse issues, science, action, exploit fear of change, stifle action and decision, mislead the shareholders in planet earth. In business that is a criminal offence for which directors get put away. To me those who do the same with respect to climate change are behaving criminally. Clarification of issues is needed for right decision.

    The current denialist offensive with regard to Germany, part of their long running campaign against renewables – anything that threatens fossil fuel profit margins – has at least had people digging about to discover the real story. Germany is not about to abandon their renewable energy goals nor about to reverse the nuclear decision. They are looking to tune up their system as any good management regime shoud do.

    Apart from the evidence of trolls attacking climate discussion on this site, and the lengthening list of denialist memes on Skeptical Science, how do I know about denialist behaviour? I first innocently joined a denialist started thread that continued for many years – one thread! with hundreds of lurkers – do you think this is a long thread? However, I checked out every assertion made and rapidly discovered the lies and misrepresentations. When I first used the term denialist I thought I had invented it! Also checking things out and joining the discussion were two germans, one near Chicargo and the other in Germany, a frenchman, a norwegian and occasionally a Sydney physicist with computer skills revealing the deceptions in denialist sourced graphs. We managed to show up the lies and misrepresentations and learned much in the process. Now we all have Tamino doing a fabulous job of keeping people honest.

    1. Noel, quite an impressive rant. How many instances of the D word did one count?

      I think the German renewables industry is in a state of disarray, and it will get worse. I don’t think it takes “campaigns of disinformation” to see skyrocketing energy prices, industries closing down, and power cuts.

      The good news is that sitting in the cold and dark will insulate us from people on the internet droning on about “deniers”

  64. Really?

    Bickering aside we now know scientists are evenly divided on whether climate change will be moderate or very dangerous. This has progressed our understanding from earlier assertions so ultimately this has been a valuable discussion. Moving on.

    1. More dishonesty from John C. Notice how he slips in a word here removes a word there to completely distort the meaning of what was said.

      John C, the scientists are evenly split on whether climate change will be moderately dangerous or a very great danger. This is not what you are claiming. By removing the word “dangerous” you are being dishonest since it changes the meaning and interpretation of what is being said.

      Are you always this dishonest or is it only when discussing climate change?

  65. Seriously, John C, one could teach a Sophistry 101 class based on your performance here.

    I don’t know what you think you’re achieving, but you ain’t.

  66. I am claiming what you said Ian. If you like the way you say it better that’s fine. 44% of scientists think climate change will be moderatly dangerous. Same difference.

    1. Wrong.

      scientists are evenly divided on whether climate change will be moderate or very dangerousscientists are evenly divided on whether climate change will be moderately or very dangerous

      One’s an adjective describing ‘dangerous climate change’, the other qualifies – and minimises the impact of – just plain ‘climate change’, for Chrissakes! But you knew that already. Or perhaps we must assume that it wasn’t just science class you weren’t paying attention in?…

    2. More dishonest lies from John C. He claims that he is agreeing with what I said. That is a lie. He claims that 44% of climate scientists agree that climate change will be “moderate”. What I,and the 44% of climate scientists are saying is that climate change will be “moderately dangerous”.

      Is John C just showing his illiteracy or is he being dishonest once again? Probably both.

  67. We will all have our own interpretations of ‘moderately’ dangerous’. Either way, it is a lesser description than ‘catastrophic’ or do you beg to differ? Nothing would surprise me anymore.

    1. Ah, the arrogance: who are your replying to here? If it’s to me; my interpretation is what’s known as ‘English’.

      Yours, on the other hand is consistent with being, as I’ve said before, an alumni of the University of Making Sh*t Up.

      And, yeah, you’re just gonna keep pretending you don’t know you’ve been caught out. Well, that’s consistent. And bloody boring.

      And clutch at the Denier’s favourite straw- ‘catastrophic’ – despite the fact that we are discussing the distinction between ‘moderate’ climate change, ‘moderately dangerous’ climate change, and ‘very dangerous’ climate change. Believe me, if your lot really do get your way, we’ll all find out just how bad ‘very dangerous’ is. If it should affect you directly remind me to quibble about whether that constitutes a ‘catastrophe’ or not…

  68. Or we might find out just how bad ‘moderatly dangerous’ is. They don’t know yet, which was what myself and Bio have tried to help you understand (not that it’s appreciated).

    I mentioned catostrophic because that is the way climate change is often described (only macro in this thread but I hear it a lot). It is now clear around 40% of scientists believe the effects of climate change will end up at this end of the scale (assuming it means similar to ‘very dangerous’).

    If there is an official interpretation of moderatly dangerous climate change would be helpful, otherwise to me it means there will be consequences but they won’t be that bad. Most ‘moderatly dangerous’ things don’t kill people in my view.

    1. So if you are in a car crash and suffer a broken neck, two broken legs, collapsed lung and internal bleeding then you have only been
      “moderately hurt”?

      What a pathetic and stupid person you are.

  69. No. I would say running that red light was ‘very dangerous’ of me and now I have ‘catostrophic’ injuries.

    The scientists appear to be putting the affects of climate change on a scale with ‘very dangerous’ at one end and I assume no danger at the other. I interpret ‘moderately’ to be in the middle.

    We are argueing over very small details. We both agree with the survey findings so this is all a bit pedantic.

    1. No I am not agreeing with you since you keep changing your words when challenged.That just piles on more dishonesty on top of your original dishonesty. You did not originally claim “moderate danger” you claimed that climate change would be moderate. That is a complete distortion of what the report said. When are you going to admit that you were either wrong or tried to mislead us? When are you going to act in a responsible and honest manner.

      If you do not admit your errors and apologize to those of us who you have sneered at, you should not be allowed to post.

  70. What a weaselly sniffling apology. I’m pretty certain you knew exactly what you were meaning when you wrote what you did.

    You compound your weasel words by saying:

    Around 60% of scientists do not agree that climate change will be ‘very dangerous’

    That certainly does not convey what the report actually says. You are still being dishonest. You cannot, unless you are being dishonest, just pluck one number out of a report and try and make believe that you are being honest. Science does not work that way. You have to show all the figures and present them as found in the report. Pulling numbers out a hat like you do is what magicians do to support their illusions, it is not science.

    The best way to describe the results is to quote them word for word as found in the actual report and not distort them like you continually do.

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