Posts by Tom Semmens

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  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    Righto then, I'll leave you all to rail about annoying plebs and their love of cheap holidays in the raified atmosphere of Russells kindergarten.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    My point is that if NZ is going to participate in an experimental program with new reactor designs

    “we” means “we, the people of earth”. If we don’t adopt nuclear, how do we keep the lights on without thermal power? Wind might work for a tiny population living on an island with uninterrupted access to the roaring forties, but it won’t for two billion Chinese and Indians.

    If nuclear is the lesser of the evils (better a world with nuclear power and polar bears) then we (the people of planet earth) might as well design and build the safest and least polluting.

    slow air/sea travel cheaper.

    Sea travel will never be cheaper than flying, because unlike cargo people need to eat, have somewhere to sleep and things to do on the 15-18 day passage on a high speed liner.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    Isn’t it better to use our imaginations to come up with cleaner ways of powering ourselves around the world?

    It is weird to me that there is so much focus on the (non-gasoline) transport net in this thread. Much as I would also love to take the overnight sleeper electric airship to Sydney (if the demand was there, the technology to build such an airship has existed for almost a century) it isn’t flying to Bali or LA that is fueling global warming, it is the road trip to the mall and SUV commute to work multiplied by 10 billion times a day. The three biggest contributors to global warming are:

    1. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants.
    2. Carbon dioxide emissions from burning gasoline for transportation.
    3. Methane emissions from animals, agriculture, and from Arctic seabeds.

    It seems to me that if we could replace coal, oil and rubbish (i.e. plastic) fueled thermal power stations with nuclear power, and get as many people and as much cargo as possible off the roads and onto bikes, trams, trains, ships, barges and buses then we could huge inroads into carbon emissions with an agenda that might have a realistic chance of making it past consumers. And when it comes to stopping the cows farting it seems to me that is exactly the type of agricultural scientific inquiry that New Zealand should be a world leader in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    My preference would be to tax aviation fuel

    Yeah, well… I see this comment as classic Green Presbyterianism. Lecturing people and trying to force them to do something they don’t want to do is always a good way to win an election… or not. So good luck getting anyone to vote for that proposal. Cheap, safe and reliable air travel is one of the miracles of the modern age. Why would you want to stop that? Let’s work on finding alternatives to coal fueled thermal power stations (i.e. safe nuclear technologies like Thorium) before we start pinching hard working peoples cheap holidays to the Gold Coast or Thailand.

    I’ve always been a bit envious of my early 20th century predecessors of the International Settlement era and their long home leaves and travel by ship.

    Everyone would love to have crossed the Atlantic in the gilded age, but only because we all imagine we’d be in first class. Ocean travel for all but the mega-rich was always much more dangerous, boring, expensive and uncomfortable than air travel.

    As for airships they have very limited potential not because of speed – they go around 160 kph, would be fine for overnight mail and cargo from Sydney or sub three day delivery from the USA – but because they cannot fly above the weather, which means they would have to fly around/sit out bad weather. And that means they can’t guarantee delivery times, which is a commercial death sentence.

    Dear New Zealand, that’s what happens when you show leadership.

    Talking of environmental leadership, to go on a slight tangent – the much maligned EU moved decisively several years ago to halt the slump in eel numbers across Europe. Every member state, including the British, were required to develop and enact a waterway management plan to save the European eel. The results speak for themselves. Remember, these are countries with many tens of millions of population and heavy industry and all sorts of competing interests. Now let’s compare and contrast that with the attitude of our government who rule over just 4.5 millions, who see rivers mainly as convenient open sewers for cow shit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The perilous birth of the…,

    If councils are so worried about it, why don''t they open their own outlet to sell it responsibly and shut down the other stores? As I understand it, as long as you have somewhere to go to buy the stuff, the council is complying with the law.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    Question. If we were to strike a Saudi sized gusher off the NZ coast, who would win the election:

    Party A, fully funded by the oil industry and backed to the hilt by every bank economist that the MSM care to regularly interview, to say: “We are all rich! Rich I tells ya! Tax cuts! Sovereign funds! Free university! Healthcare for everything all the time! WE CAN HAVE IT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    or Party B who say “Nooooo!!! Leave it in the ground! Save the planet! Let’s not have a party”.

    Our leaders won’t do anything about global warming, because most of us don’t want them to. Or rather we do, as long as it doesn’t involve any sacrifices in our standard of living. Hence the popularity of recycling (everyone agrees it is a good thing because it costs us nothing and we feel good doing it) vs. putting up the price of petrol to fund more efficient public transport.

    Only when Lockheed-Martin start building the tax-payer funded spaceships that will build the giant space umbrella will we get buy in from business and the public for global warming, because that will mean fat contracts for business and jobs for workers. In other words, the people that created the problem (and own our governments) have to make money out of fixing the problem before they’ll raise one finger to do anything about the problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    An interesting fact, which you may already know,, is that the fertiliser we use is made from hydrogen extracted from natural gas

    absolutely. i thought Sue Kedley was crazy when she said that “we’re literally eating oil”

    when Greens complain that deniers prefer their opinions to science all I see is the pot calling the kettle black. Spreading the idea that world food production will collapse when natural feedstocks run out is a typical piece of Green alarmism. The Haber process uses hydrogen obtained from natural gas only because this is the cheapest source. Hydrogen via electrolysis of sea water would be almost as cheap, and is practically inexhaustible. We are not going to run out of ammonia. The idea that the food distribution network might collapse when fossil fuel prices rise is another (arguable) question altogether.

    Insofar as most climate change denial is frankly ideological and paranoid rather than scientific the tactics of the Green movement have much more in common with climate change denial than they would care to admit, and the Green movement pioneered how to manipulate language and with it public opinion. The trouble is the Greens were never bankrolled by big oil like the deniers are.

    According to the ideology of climate change denial, Climate change is a leftist plot designed to destroy capitalism and replace it with - something, I have no idea what the outcome of the supposed plot is meant to be. A socialist world government I should imagine, that is the usual suspect. Having Greens like Sue Kegley going on about fertilizer production like some sort of bonkers Cassandra who sounds grimly pleased that we are all going to get our much deserved comeuppance in a cosmic morality play simply stokes the paranoia and resentment of climate change deniers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Muse: Guilt By Association Copy,

    When I first arrived in New Zealand and was tiki-touring the country in around 2002-2003, I was really very surprised by the number of antique shops that openly displayed genuine Nazi/Wermacht artefacts, nearly always stuff that grandad had brought home from Italy or wherever as a souvenir after the war.

    A relative of mine owned an SS officers full clobber – hat, arm band, jacket, belt and pants – that he proudly “liberated” from a German officer trudging his way home/to a prisoner of war camp in Italy in 1945. He was certainly no Nazi. He kept it as a momento of victory, of the moment when a soldier from New Zealand could force a member of the most feared organisation of the so-called master race to publicly disrobe. And indeed, the humiliation of being striped and left naked by your conqueror is a powerful piece of symbolism.

    In this country, thousands of innocent miles from the vile turpitude of the European race wars of the first half of last century and a robust contributor to the victory over Fascism in WWII, the trappings of the defeated Nazis were generally regarded by the generation that fought the war as simply the defanged curiosities of the beast we helped slay, mere curios whose meaning has been proudly rendered powerless by our prowess at arms. The casual debasement of the solemn symbols of your enemy can be a powerful reminder of their defeat. For example, in the way the Moscow army museum displays the banners of the SS exactly as they were thrown to the ground at the feet of Stalin in the Red Square victory parade in 1945 or the way Charlie Chaplin comically parodied the mannerisms of Hitlerism.

    Kim Dotcom doesn’t strike me as a bloke who would have thought to deeply about owning a signed copy of Mein Kampf. I think the chances he sees his ownership of the book as a symbol of the defeat of fascism as approaching nil, just as I think the odds that it signals he is a closet Nazi are practically nil. Not everyone is a bookish worrywart angsting over the symbolic meaning of something, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Dotcom isn’t the first and won’t be the last person who simply thinks owning something associated with a notorious criminal would be way cool.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Gower Speaks,

    I read the replies by Patrick Gower in the post above. To me, they have all the believability and all the sincerity of a Rebekah Brooks solemnly promising she won't do it again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Poll Day 2: Queasy, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Jesus. That’s very, very poor. Audrey Young’s usually better than that.

    Are you sure about that? Another day, another story that reads like a National party press release.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1741 posts Report Reply

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