Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Great moments in Prime Ministerial Speeches

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  • brian poffley,

    I believe this will never happen here because what ever the government they will always be beholding to the lobby groups that represent the outdated technology that provides wealth to the groups with money and power. In transport the trucking loobyists will continue to ensure that the roads motorists pay for will provide bigger profits to the trucking companys than if they had to pay the full cost of infrastructure they use. Roads are cheaper for them than rail but motorist must pay with time and dollars to ensure the city roading system works for them.
    Has anyone else noticed that the current spending on roading is not about moving the traffic effectivly but providing more space for cars to park while they wait for what must be the most inefficient system of traffic movement ,the traffic lights. If there weren't the trucks we could use local produce,steel,concrete and labour to make over and under passes, trucks require so much more space that the engineering becomes prohibitive. Instead we spend hours of time and gallons of fuel idling at lights.
    And now someone is making megabucks with onramp signals because drivers can't take it on themselves that to merge like zip requires making a space for the other queue.
    The current debate on power pylons, there is technology to create the power (solar panels on Highrise rooves) were it is needed, but the are too many dollars at stake for the steel and concrete men in the creation of the unsightly pylons. Even if solar is more expensive to produce the money saved by not creating these eyesores would make solar compedative. I guess the saving is twofold the money spent on transport of power would be used to create power.
    All the fuss about hungry kids why not create gardens in schools and plant feijoa hedges,grapevines,manderinandplum trees, minimal cost.But business decides its better to provide some processed shit and ensure kids never learn that they can be responsible for providing their own food.And experience he joy of creation.
    Sorry but I don't think in this system sanity can ever prevail.
    Anarchy the only answer.

    Cheers Brian

    onehunga • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Anarchy the only answer.
    I don't mind that, but we could look into nuclear power as well.

    Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    "...We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender..."

    You know, there is only one loan word in that speech, all the other words are original, solid, old English words. The loan word? Its from French, and its "surrender."

    I don't know if that was deliberate or not, but Churchill had an innate understanding of the words that sound most weighty and important to a speaker of the english language.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1776 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Horseshit,

    Ocean, defend, confidence, cost are all Latin, Greek or French in origin.

    There must be some sort of law of the internet that people who make sweeping pronouncements about language always screw it up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman,

    Firstly, opposition parties will use any long-term energy plan -- however sensible -- as a stick to beat government.

    I think that depends on how seriously you pursue the goal. If the plan is big enough, you actually go ahead with it, and it doesn't fail spectacularly in the early stages, you can put your opposition in a position where the stakes are too high for them to close the whole thing down.

    For example, National would never have introduced the Cullen Fund, and I'm sure they'd like to remove it, but at this point it would be too politically risky. Likewise with the anti-nuclear policy. In fact, pretty much everything the Fourth Labour Government did would fall into this category: do it large enough and fast enough and it can't be easily undone.

    Unfortunately, it seems to have stretched the limits of this government's capabilities to articulate what their goal might be. It seems pretty doubtful that any coherent action will be forthcoming.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    there is only one loan word in that speech, all the other words are original, solid, old English words. The loan word? Its from French, and its "surrender."

    ?

    you are kidding right? "surrender" [takes out oxford concise dictionary]... is a... middle "english" word taken from the french during the time they pwned, and owned, the anglo-saxons.

    that said, i agree. churchill knew the value, and power, of propaganda.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    the vast majority of our man-made atmospheric carbon emissions are due to energy use

    Um, no. if you go to the effort of checking the latest inventory report, you'll see that the vast majority of man-made atmospheric carbon emissions are due to farmers. For those who don't want to wade through, the agricultural sector contributed 32.12 megatonnes CO2-equivalent in 2004; the (non-transport) energy sector contributed 14.78, and transport 8.88. Of course, this makes the problem worse.

    And OTOH as a dedicated reader of cabinet papers on the issue, I've always understood this to mean carbon neutral stationary energy, as suggested in the "way ahead" paper back in December last year:

    "In energy it may be appropriate to set a goal for levels of (non-transport) renewable energy – even going 100% renewable or carbon neutral in a long term timeframe. This could be progressed through the developing National Energy Strategy."

    This goal isn't insurmountable, and in the timeframe suggested, basically amounts to the slow retirement of thermal generation or the offsetting of its emissions. The perfect policy tool to do this BTW is emissions trading with a sinking cap.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    It is interesting to look at Churchill's bit in terms of being shaped around changes from monosyllables (usually more ancient to the language) to longer words. I've seen Shakespeare praised for similar business.

    ...No, this my hand will rather
    The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
    Making the green one red.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson,

    Anarchy the only answer.
    I don't mind that, but we could look into nuclear power as well.

    Nuclear Anarchy sounds like so much fun.
    Wait, I've played that before.
    So where do we keep the power armour in NZ?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Idiot Savant wrote:

    Um, no. if you go to the effort of checking the latest, you'll see that the vast majority of man-made atmospheric carbon emissions are due to farmers.

    It would be tempting to reply: "Um, no, if you go to the effort to read it properly you'll notice that you've confused the terms carbon and CO2-equivalent"... oh, just kidding...

    But I'll politely point out that you've confused carbon with CO2-equivalent. Given that methane has a GWP-100 (Global Warming Potential over 100 years) that is 23 times higher than CO2, then this means that its single carbon atom gets counted 23 times as much in terms of CO2-equivalent. But, of course, it does not have 23 times as much actual carbon.

    If you'd followed the link from the words "vast majority" in my original post, you'd have come across this statement from IPENZ:

    In New Zealand about 90% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions come from energy use and in particular, from the burning of fossil fuels, the other 10% (approximately) come from industrial processes.

    IPENZ source this information to the Ministry for the Environment (see graphs at the top of p.3 of the document).

    I guess the carbon-neutral question depends a little on your definition of carbon and your definition of man-made. With methane you get into some tricky questions about the original world-wide population of ruminants and how many there would be if humankind didn't exist -- and the relative merits of swamps and pastureland. Given that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the ones we can most easily do something about at this point in time (and the ones that are raising the concerns in terms of food miles) then this is what I (and probably most other energy engineers) would consider when we are discussing the concept of carbon neutrality. I don't know what Helen Clark's definition might be

    Idiot Savant wrote:

    I've always understood this to mean carbon neutral stationary energy... This goal isn't insurmountable...

    Yes, I agree that it would be comparatively easy to make our stationary electricity generation carbon-neutral. But I'm sure that's not what Helen Clark meant. If she did, then why did she talk about the issue of food miles -- which is mainly related to the fossil fuels used for transportation purposes.

    But thanks for contributing to the discussion, Mr Savant -- always interesting to see different takes on an issue...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 961 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Those are the two opposing strategies for rhetorical heft in English vocabulary: the biblical, with short and well-worn syllables; and the Johnsonian, with orotund polysyllables. Churchill knew both, of course.

    It is true that the classic Churchill speeches draw far more on words with Anglosaxon roots. This is a consequence, as Lyndon points out, of choosing the shortest, plainest words consistent with dignity. The shortest words in English are generally the oldest and hence largely Germanic. In the next layer we have Norman French. Blood, sweat and tears are all Germanic, but toil is French.

    If we were to strive for a thoroughly Anglosaxon style, maybe we would sound like Poul Anderson's Uncleftish beholding

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Nice summary David. I would not be so sure that nothing will come of the present initiatives.

    I am sure that the Government will be vilified over time for failing to met targets, empty rhetoric etc. etc. but what we are seeing now is aligned with stuff happening in Europe, particularly the UK. It would be wrong to underestimate the influence the UK/NZ Labour govts. have on each other WRT social and economic policy.

    Equally consumers in our target markets will be watching what happens in producer countries very closely. Indeed, the Federated Farmers leaderships recent statements on global warming would make me very worried about the future if I were a farmer. Imagine Tesco's sticking the latest flat earth statements from them over the NZ produce shelf.

    Finally, the energy sector is like the Telco one, living on borrowed time as far as regulatory intervention goes. The government has been extending the rope for some time now and the sector seems oblivious to the twitching of trap door levers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Regarding geothermal energy, NZ has been a major pioneer in this field, developing the technology necessary to utilise steam+water sources. This was followed up with the UN supported Geothermal Institute at The University of Auckland which not only advanced NZ's geothermal expertise but offered the opportunity for budding geothermal scientists from developing countries to develop skills. Great for them, great for alternative energy and great for NZ diplomacy.

    So I wonder why the Government pulled the plug on it a couple of years ago.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Um, no. if you go to the effort of checking the latest inventory report, you'll see that the vast majority of man-made atmospheric carbon emissions are due to farmers.

    I'm no expert, but I suspect, unless the farmers have really bad personal habits, that when you say 'farmers' you mean 'cows and sheep'. Obviously they have some responsibility for it, but as someone who drinks milk and likes a good chop, it'd be fairer to attribute it to the whole industry rather than those 'naughty farmers'.

    There's another debate there about whether or not 'cows and sheep' are man-made, but I guess you could say the same thing about coal, and it doesn't advance the discussion.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    To follow up on my earlier reply to Idiot Savant's comment:

    the vast majority of man-made atmospheric carbon emissions are due to farmers

    My rough calculations from the report that Idiot Savant cites (Table 2.2.1) would put carbon dioxide at around 96 per cent of NZ's atmospheric carbon emissions. The report doesn't seem to break down CO2 emissions by ultimate source use (or, if it does, I couldn't find it), but I see no reason to disbelieve the Ministry of Environment's figures that 90 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions are due to energy use.

    That would mean that around 86 per cent of NZ's man-made atmospheric carbon emissions are due to energy use. I think most people would call that the "vast majority".

    If Helen Clark meant 'CO2-equivalent neutral' rather then 'carbon neutral' (which I'm sure she didn't) then she should have said 'CO2-equivalent neutral'...

    Neil Morrison wrote:

    [The] Geothermal Institute at The University of Auckland... advanced NZ's geothermal expertise... I wonder why the Government pulled the plug on it a couple of years ago.

    Don't depress me even more! I could name dozens of similarly counterproductive actions by government bodies in the energy sector. Talking to people from the big electricity companies would make your hair stand on end. Their job is to make money (mostly for the government) which they do very well -- however this means that they very often do things that aren't in the best interests of NZ's long-term energy infrastructure.

    Isaac Freeman wrote:

    If the plan is big enough, you actually go ahead with it, and it doesn't fail spectacularly in the early stages, you can put your opposition in a position where the stakes are too high for them to close the whole thing down.

    The thing that worries me about a plan on this scale is that it is comprised of so many sub-components. A particular government may encourage work on a given energy sub-component (e.g. a large geothermal station), and this will be completed by their successors -- but it's all too easy for the successor government to discontinue any further work on the overall plan.

    I would not be so sure that nothing will come of the present initiatives... the Federated Farmers leaderships recent statements on global warming would make me very worried about the future if I were a farmer.

    I really hope that you (and Isaac Freeman) are right. The fact that this issue could become so obviously economic gives me hope that successive governments will follow through. Perhaps the current misdirection in much of the energy sector makes me overly pessimistic. It's just a shame that we don't have some form of long-term planning that wouldn't be so affected by political expediency.

    By the way, you're a great man for a metaphor, Don. Loved that bit about "the [energy] sector seems oblivious to the twitching of trap door levers...". Yes, they certainly are.

    Juha Saarinen wrote:

    could look into nuclear power as well.

    I think we should keep an open mind on the nuclear energy option. That said, it has a lot of problems associated with it (I could write a very boring essay on this subject). It makes far more economic sense to exploit our renewable resources first.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 961 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    What about if I save 10% off my power bill per annum, I get that dollar figure off my rates, (or tax if I don't own a home).
    Seems to me the Govt is just making too much money from power generation at the moment. Same with gambling, tobacco and alcohol, maybe it's their revenue model that's the problem?
    And if they oferred a reasonable price on a solar panel, I'd buy one. I remember the Energy Crises days, I reckon that with incentives we could shave 20% PA off the grid need.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think the best answer would not be popular because of upsetting too many applecarts:

    We need more people using less energy. Having only 4 million people on a big chunk of land like NZ wastes energy - not least because those people want to visit each other and have stuff trucked to them. 8 million people could live much more sustainably than 4 (bearing in mind that the new 4 million aren't elsewhere - it's carbon *per capita* we are talking about).

    We need to stop being a nation of farmers and become a nation of creators. Right now, much of the world farms ineffectively through lack of education/infrastructure/capital - that will change and staying a farming nation will mean increasingly competing on labour cost with places like Africa, India and China.

    We need to go "all renewable". This *does* mean more dams - ok, maybe they aren't the nicest thing in the world (though I had a great weekend by the side of one of our power generators not long ago) but they're a damn site better than global warming. Nukes are a stupid idea - no nuclear power plant has ever been built without a government subsidy in the form of real money and an excemption from the need to carry anything like the kind of insurance the risk would justify. Basically, nuclear power was invented as a cover story because countries didn't want it to be too obvious how much money was being poured into plutonium manufacture. Electricity is a by-product of making Pu, not the other way round.

    So large scale immigration, ramp down farming, build dams, no nukes. At least the last might be popular.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    David: Sure - but OTOH, it's net CO2-equivalent emissions which matter, not carbon content. Carbon Dioxide is the greenhouse gas we have the most control over (well, according to farmers; I say we can always fight methane emissions with bullets, or rather BBQs) - but it is not the be all and end all, and focusing solely on it will not solve our emissions problem.

    WRT carbon neutrality, OK, you're probably right that Clark was aiming a little higher. But I think its also important to stress the long-term nature of the goal. The suggestions around stationary energy basically involve slowly replacing, upgrading, and retiring to reserve our thermal generation capacity over the course of the normal capital cycle. And it will be the same with transport - enacting policies which see our emissions minimised, and then eventually moving to offset what remains. Fundamentally, this is about pathways, not a demand that we start planting trees for everything, tomorrow. Whether its (temporarily, because I know land is finite) feasible really depends on how low we can get our emissions before we start planting trees, and what other tricks we can pull (for example, using Peter Read's suggestion for biosequestration, which is actually rather cool. We should start planting some trees for that now, BTW, on the basis that if the technology isn't accepted, then we always have a carbon sink).

    Don:

    I am sure that the Government will be vilified over time for failing to met targets, empty rhetoric etc. etc.

    Well, they certainly wouldn't be doing any worse than any previous government here. But I'm actually rather optimistic about policy ATM - the Business Council for Sustainable Development have won the argument in the business sector, and there's a fair amount of policy from below. We should see at least something implemented, which puts us in a better position policywise than any time since 1995.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Idiot Savant wrote:

    ...it's net CO2-equivalent emissions which matter, not carbon content... [CO2] is not the be all and end all, and focusing solely on it will not solve our emissions problem.

    Couldn't agree more -- but I should point out that I was writing a critique of Helen Clark's proposal for a carbon-neutral NZ, not a CO2-equivalent-neutral NZ.

    Idiot Savant wrote:

    I think its also important to stress the long-term nature of the goal.

    Couldn't agree more on that, too -- and that's why I kept harping on about how the proposal would need to take place over decades (sorry if that got boring after a while).

    Idiot Savant wrote:

    ... and what other tricks we can pull (for example, using Peter Read's suggestion for biosequestration, which is actually rather cool).

    Dr Read's suggestions RE: biosequestration are interesting, although his proposal rather unfortunately circumvents one of the great advantages of fuels like bioethanol, i.e. suitability for use in mobile applications. But perhaps in a decade or so that won't be such a problem.

    Idiot Savant wrote:

    I'm actually rather optimistic about policy ATM

    I'm glad you feel optimistic -- I wish I did. But I do fully admit to being a rather gloomy eeyore-ish type.

    What do you think can be done to prevent the energy/emissions issue from being used as a political football (as has happened over the past few decades)? Does anyone think a referendum on the subject might have merit in terms of sending a clear message (and giving a clear mandate) to whichever future government is in power?

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 961 posts Report Reply

  • Michael aux Pfraundorf,

    David:
    Don't write stuff like this anymore. It's too depressing. Nobody wants to hear that. Write funnier stories. How about a story about bumblebee? Or a deer culler story featuring a (carbon producing) Landrover...

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Stephen Judd
    "..horseshit,

    Ocean, defend, confidence, cost are all Latin, Greek or French in origin.

    There must be some sort of law of the internet that people who make sweeping pronouncements about language always screw it up..."

    Right I went back and checked my source, Robert Claiborne's "The life and Times of the English Language" and here is what he says:

    "...IF our native words are syntactically powerful beyond their numbers, they are also powerful in another way: taken as a group, they stir the feelings in a way that the borrowings do not - a fact well known to those skilled at using our native tongue to persuade or inflame. Listen, for example, to Winston Churchill in 1940: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." Every word of this is pure English, save only for the final French trumpet peel of surrender..."

    So my point remains valid. Horseshit? I'm gonna send Whaleoil around to shoot you in the head and steal your cigars, which I shall smoke whilst snogging your widow at your funeral. Unless you are gay, in which case I'll quietly give the cigars back and wash my hands.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1776 posts Report Reply

  • robert barnes,

    Apart from Pres. Bush and his cronies everybody accepts the reality of global warming. Everybody, it seems, is convinced that the only answer is drastic reduction in our carbon emissions. Lost in the debate is the question of whether this will actually do any good.

    If Kyoto is fully implemented and we achieve the reductions in CO2 expected from it, then (based on a consensus of Global Climate Models of about 6 years ago) the forcast reduction in warming will be about 0.15C. Put another way, the reduced temperature in 2100 will be what the temperature would have been in 2094 without Kyoto. This will cost $US75bn to $346bn per year, depending on the trading model, about twice the cost of the global warming itself (this cost won't be significantly reduced).

    Although these figures may be out of date now, I haven't seen them challenged or updated. The whole debate has swung between two extremes: from "Global Warming is unproven, we should do nothing", to "Global Warming is the greatest threat mankind has ever faced, we must urgently and dramatically reduce our carbon emmissions". Both extremes are wrong.

    It certainly makes sense (as it would anyway) to drive smaller cars, use renewable or non-polluting energy sources, etc., and we should take sensible steps to reduce our emissions. Overzealous policies however are like doing penance and attending mass to ward off the plague: they do nothing to reduce the problem, and they reduce the resources that society has to mitigate the problem's effects.

    It is worth noting that for one year's cost of Kyoto (fully implemented) the whole world could be provided with clean water supplies. Lost in the global warming debate is the question "Is it sensible to spend this amount of money on an inneffective policy". This is a classic case of politicians wanting to be seen to be doing something, anything, even if it doesn't make sense.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Sorry but this seems like a rather specious way of supporting the dither do nothing approach. As far as I am aware the recent hysteria is based on evidence that suggests warming will be somewhat more than that estimated for Kyoto.

    Bypassing the detail of this argument. you can’t talk about the price of action purely in terms of how much it will cost to implement Kyoto you should also include the cost of failing to implement plans to reduce GW.

    To cite your example it seems ridiculous to provide fresh water to replace that which would be lost due to contamination of the water table by rising sea levels.

    The bit that really chills me is that the debate about the consequences of GW seems to be stuck with the idea of a linear (gradual) model of change. It is quite possible that environmental change will suffer at least one non-linear (big sudden change) in this period.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 722 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Bypassing the detail of this argument. you can’t talk about the price of action purely in terms of how much it will cost to implement Kyoto you should also include the cost of failing to implement plans to reduce GW.

    Woops my bad this bit should have read:

    Its difficult to argue for perspective when the estimated cost of implementation varies by 400% or more and there is no clear way of estimating the cost of inaction. But even if the upper $346bn is taken this is still less than the US military spend for last year.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 722 posts Report Reply

  • Rosie,

    In the UK I noticed that Helen Clark’s speech got a mention in The Independent on the 14th of Feb.
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article2268094.ece

    Food miles has had quite a bit of coverage in the UK lately. People are being told that they must buy local food to reduce their carbon contribution. NZ Kiwifruit and lamb have been singled out in some articles I have read.

    I do not think we should underestimate the power of NZ’s export markets to keep this new “carbon-neutral New Zealand” idea afloat. It would make NZ look good, it might even pay for its self.

    If NZ wants to keep selling to distant markets in the future we may need to prove what the impact of production and shipping is in comparison to food grown in Europe (and then NZ would have to stay ahead of Europe).

    Perhaps NZ should develop a standard way of estimating the ‘carbon’ that goes into producing a piece of food. Say CO2 equivalent per kg of food. Perhaps start a carbon benchmark to compare products from different parts of the world.

    Can you imagine all the forms farmers would have to fill in then….that would really give them something to complain about.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

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