Out of Africa: Nigerian environment minister warns of devastating climate impacts

The government in New Zealand may make soothing noises about climate change impacts, but that is not an option for the Minister of Environment in Nigeria, Mrs Laurentia Mallam. She issued this chilling warning about the impacts of sea level rise a few days ago:

“Studies have projected that with an accelerated sea level rise of 0.5 meters, 35 per cent of the Niger Delta land mass will be lost, and with accelerated sea level rise of 1.0 meters, 75 per cent of the Niger Delta will be gone under water.

“Given this scenario, it implies that nearly 32 million people (22.6 per cent of the national population) who live along the coastal zone are at the risk of becoming environmental refugees. Such forced movement could result in social frictions arising from demands of land resources for economic activities by the refugees.”

For good measure she listed the full effects of climate change on her country:

“In Nigeria, the impacts of climate change are manifested by erosion and landslides in the east, drought, and desertification in the north, raising sea levels in the coastal areas and flooding across the nation.”

The adaptation measures required by Nigeria will obviously be of staggering proportions, and add urgency to the need to prevent the problem from getting even worse than it is already going to be.

Continue reading “Out of Africa: Nigerian environment minister warns of devastating climate impacts”

A big week coming: meanwhile Anglicans divest

It’s shaping up to be a big week. On Friday in Stockholm (Saturday in NZ) the IPCC will release the final version (not the one that’s been leaked to and seen by all and sundry) of the Summary for Policy Makers of the Working Group One report of their Fifth Report (AR5 — official web site here). As you might expect, the usual suspects have been lining up to try and dominate the news media — to provide a carbon friendly “frame” through which to view the IPCC’s findings. Most of it has been singularly ineffective, as Graham Readfearn noted in the Guardian, but I’ll hold my fire until the final SPM is released. Watch this space…

Meanwhile, the Anglican Diocese of Wellington voted this weekend to join their colleagues in Auckland by divesting itself of any fossil fuel investments in its portfolio. The Auckland synod at the beginning of the month took the opportunity to listen to two presentations that I think it worth drawing attention to here. First, Jim Renwick from VUW (an IPCC lead author) lays out the basic science that underlies the case for action to reduce emissions:

…then economic commentator Rod Oram explains the “carbon bubble” in market valuations of fossil fuel energy stocks, and why it would make sense to avoid that risk:

Two compelling presentations, with an obvious conclusion that the members of the Anglican church were happy to accept. We should not be investing in companies whose value depends on the burning of excessive amounts of carbon.

Business NZ: hands off our ETS handouts

Why is Business NZ putting its proverbial head above the parapet and expressing a view on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (the NZETS)? In this post, Simon Johnson argues that the ETS gives us the “Eyes Glaze Over” syndrome as it is a dead horse being flogged by the usual suspects. The NZETS is toothless by design. In both respects, Business NZ has got the Emissions Trading Scheme exactly how they want it.

Phil O’Reilly, the CEO of business lobby group Business NZ, has just written an opinion piece in the Herald on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (the NZETS).

I think I can guess what you are thinking.

“Oh no, an article about the NZETS…just the mention of it sucks the life out of me. I bet it has attracted a whole lot of crackpot denier comments. It’s so complex and full of jargon I don’t really know what to think about it. I find the whole subject just a turn-off. My Eyes are Glazing Over.

This is the entirely natural MEGO response, but you need to fight it! Most discussions of the NZETS descend into flogging the dead horse in order for the snake to swallow the elephant in the room sort of circularity.

We need to realise that this ETS inertia works to the advantage of the parties who gain from the current NZETS. That is of course, the big emitter business members of Business NZ. So, obtain a coffee or other stimulant and read on. I can help you through this. I have waded through Phil O’Reilly’s NZETS musings so you don’t have to.

Continue reading “Business NZ: hands off our ETS handouts”

SOS tour adds Lakes dates; Wratt in Wellington

The Saunders Oram and Salinger climate roadshow continues to rumble on through the spring, and news reaches me that they’ve just added talks in Queenstown and Wanaka on Thursday Nov 3 to their already crowded itinerary. Venues are still to be arranged, but the Queenstown talk will be in the afternoon and the Wanaka talk in the evening. All the latest details (including a confirmed gig on Waiheke Island) are in this information sheet. Jim tells me they’ve been getting very good attendances — 70 in the recent Kaiapoi session and 70 at Omakau (probably the highest per capita attendance of the lot). By the end of November they will have completed a remarkable 37 presentations. Hats off to all three of them…

Wellingtonians with a lunch hour free on Thursday (6/10) might like to note that Dr David Wratt, Director of the NZ Climate Change Centre and NIWA’s Chief Scientist (Climate) will be giving a presentation on Assessing Scientific Knowledge about Climate Change as a part of the NZ Climate Change Research Institute’s seminar series. Time: 12 – 1pm in Cotton Building 304 on VUW’s Kelburn Campus. David will cover developments since AR4 and discuss the process of putting AR5 together. Contact Liz Thomas at the NZ CCRI for more information.

SOS Roadshow: Final Days

Here’s the latest update on the Jim Salinger, Rod Oram and Caroline Saunders road show. It contains more complete information on venues and two or three additions to the list we published three weeks back. By the time the tour finishes in November they will have given 35 seminars. That’s a sterling effort which hopefully will have engaged interest from the farming community. I detected, when watching a TV panel discussion recently which included the new Federated Farmers president, reason to hope that under its new leadership Federated Farmers will be more willing to understand and share the concern over climate change than has been the case heretofore. As the road show makes clear there is economic benefit for them in facing the reality.  Continue reading “SOS Roadshow: Final Days”