Envirologue by Dave Hansford

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Envirologue: The Agony of Vanuatu and the New Climate Colonialism

106 Responses

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  • Samuel Buckman,

    Um..what the hell does this mean?

    It also seeks to have the warming effect of methane – one of New Zealand’s most voluminous pollutants – redefined so as to lessen our total emissions.

    Surely that is something that is determined with science, not by the UN?

    Auckland • Since Apr 2014 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    Um..what the hell does this mean?

    It also seeks to have the warming effect of methane – one of New Zealand’s most voluminous pollutants – redefined so as to lessen our total emissions.

    Surely that is something that is determined with science, not by the UN?

    Science, schmience. The interests of National voters are at stake here. Why should we let physics stand in our way?

    :)

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    I’m afraid I’m ignorent of why there is a big difference. Would someone mind explaining?

    India produces over twice as much milk as NZ but they export very little (as they consume the large majority of it) - hence their global trade in dairy is much less than NZ.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    we’re the largest global trader in dairy, but not the biggest producer by some margin

    I’m afraid I’m ignorent of why there is a big difference. Would someone mind explaining?

    Most countries who produce dairy products sell them within the country of origin. So several countries produce and sell huge amounts of dairy products, much more than NZ.

    But NZ is one of the few countries that actually EXPORTS dairy products. So we are the biggest global trader because nobody else really trades globally.

    However, after demonstrating that China will buy lots of dairy products, lots of other countries are gearing up to export as well and it won't be long before we are a small part of global dairy trade.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Hansford, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    Many of the world's big dairy producers – India, China, Uruguay, the US, the EU – supply much larger domestic markets than does New Zealand. We export the vast bulk of our production...

    Nelson • Since Apr 2008 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Euan Mason,

    Surely that is something that is determined with science, not by the UN?

    Science, schmience. The interests of National voters are at stake here. Why should we let physics stand in our way?

    There is a shred of logic in their argument. Reducing CO2 emissions is mostly about not burning fossil fuels and there are a lot of solutions for that. Hence it makes sense for countries to reduce CO2 emissions.

    Methane (from agriculture in particular) is mostly produced from ruminant burps. About the only way to reduce that emission is to have fewer ruminants.

    One is relatively easy the other is relatively hard, so National is arguing we should not be made to do the hard thing.

    Of course since National have shown no inclination to even try to do the easy thing (reduce CO2) nobody is taking their arguments seriously.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to william blake,

    but if left alone nature will reduce the worlds population until it is back in balance, as it has done before.

    Care to give an example William?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Reducing CO2 emissions is mostly about not burning fossil fuels and there are a lot of solutions for that

    Yup. This.

    Sadly, many just don't grasp the lifestyle changes we need to make to enable this to happen. I'm tired of reading Facebook posts extolling the virtues of leading a more sustainable life - immediately preceded by photos of their latest beach holiday in Europe or the US.

    One simple way to make a sudden and meaningful dent in your own carbon footprint is to stop taking international flights and reducing air travel in general. Yes it's a 'sacrifice' but this is the kind of change that we must embrace if we are to avoid the worst climate change scenarios... And please don't give me the 'I offset by planting trees' excuse... The fossil fuels have to stay in the ground.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    the Moo Synthesiser...

    There were 6.4 million dairy cattle in New Zealand at 30 June 2012, up 23 percent (1.2 million) from the total of 5.3 million in 2007. The additional 1.1 million dairy cows will produce around four times the total amount of milk that New Zealanders consume each year.

    <source>
    with a population of approx 4,4 million thats 1.4545 (recurring) dairy cows per person, not to mention the 3.9 million cattle beef and 31 million sheep...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    the Anty dote...

    About the only way to reduce that emission is to have fewer ruminants.

    this made me ruminate about insects and ants and, well, who knew?

    Using ants to help capture CO2 and help fight global warming stems from a study Dorn published recently in Geology linking ants to the acceleration of natural carbon dioxide absorption in rock by up to 335 times, compared with absorption in ant-free areas.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    NZ has always relied on agriculture to pay its way. What do you propose we do about these huge stock numbers? If we drastically reduce them how will we service our massive national debt? Dig for victory like Australia?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    the cornered dairy...

    ...how will we service our massive national debt?

    The way 'we' borrow I have no idea what the plan is for paying it all back (or if there even is one, or what we used as collateral in lieu)...
    ...but isn't that what wars are for - wiping the slate clean?
    (and reducing the population)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …but isn’t that what wars are for – wiping the slate clean?
    (and reducing the population)

    That's a bit dark Ian!
    Have you had a hard day?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Hansford, in reply to Samuel Buckman,

    Hi Samuel: Here, I'm talking about metrics, which can be thought of as a ‘common currency’, or ‘exchange rate’ that allows emissions of different gases to be compared and traded in a common market.

    Metrics help answer important questions: how much weight should a country give to reducing methane emissions, compared to nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide? If a company or individual were to reduce CO2 emissions by one tonne, how much CH4 would that equate to? If it costs the same money to reduce a tonne of CH4, or 20 tonnes of CO2, which would be ‘better’ for the climate?

    Answers to these questions depend on the relative contribution each gas makes to the greenhouse effect. Some gases are more effective at trapping heat than others, and each gas has a different lifetime in the atmosphere. Scientists recognise those different properties, and have developed metrics that aim to give a simple weighting to each gas. This allows for easier comparison of their effect on the climate, and the cost of mitigating them.

    Methane is known to have a much more powerful warming effect than CO2, but it doesn't last as long in the atmosphere. The New Zealand delegation believes that the current "weighting" applied to methane is open to debate. If they can get a lesser warming effect applied to it, that would – on paper – lessen New Zealand's emissions and reduce any liability. It is, like the rest of their position, all about smoke and mirrors.

    Nelson • Since Apr 2008 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Dave Hansford,

    Hi Dave.

    Methane emissions from livestock will obviously increase NZ’s liability under any future GHG reduction agreement (hopefully signed in Paris). The primary way to reduce these emissions is through stock number reduction. This will impose a penalty on NZ’s economy. Presumably the ‘polluter pays’ aspect of this policy is not borne by the actual consumer of the dairy or meat product in the USA or China?

    Similarly, does the coal mined in Australia impose a burden on the Australian economy or is it the Chinese consumer of that fossil fuel who is considered the ‘polluter’ and liable for the GHG emissions?

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    Sorry to Wiki a reply but it's a reasonable look at mass extinctions on Earth.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith,

    Thanks William.

    Are you thinking that extinction of Homo sapiens is a possibility? I don't think the IPCC reports suggests anything quite that dramatic.

    I'm happily doing my bit to keep the numbers down - the buck stops here...

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    a dark day and a hard days night…

    That’s a bit dark Ian!
    Have you had a hard day?

    Just watching our math wizard, ex-money trader leader tell us (on National News) that the GST on a $1.29 iTunes purchase would only be about 2 cents!!!
    That’s 19 cents thanks John – how many other ‘deals’ has he got the math wrong on?
    I do despair at times…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen, in reply to Dave Hansford,

    The New Zealand delegation believes that the current “weighting” applied to methane is open to debate.

    I'm not sure what the NZ delegation is arguing, but the Global Warming Potential of methane (according to the Science and wikipedia) is somewhere between 7.6 and 86 depending on the horizon you use (numbers are relative to CO2). Laws and Regulations tend to have look-up tables so people know exactly what they're dealing with, and the Kyoto Protocol look-up table value for the GWP of methane has been set at our understanding as at 1995: 21 over a 100 year horizon. This was reassessed by the IPCC in 2001 (23), 2007 (25), and 2013 (34). Changing from 21 to 34 would increase our methane emissions liability by over 50% in a stroke. If methane was a big proportion of emissions for other countries they'd be hell-bent on tweaking the rules to their advantage too (eg. extending the time horizon to 400 years might halve our accountable methane emissions).

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    The dairy farmers and manufacturers have a monopoly that extends to retail, FMCG etc. Now cattle and sheep farmers want a monopoly too. The fact that self-regulation wasn't enough to get dairy farmers to cut discharges of effluent and chemicals into our rivers and streams shows how environmental needs get addressed without a law change. Climate change will happen. The new south-western motorway tunnel will become a favoured spot for divers. Sand-bagging the north-western (in Auckland btw) is a monument to the thinking of climate-denying local government planners. Legislate everyone to accept a 20 metre sea rise in the next 50 years, I reckon.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 364 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Shaw,

    It's like an echo chamber in here, with every respondent pretty much on the same page regarding the evil carbon dioxide. I used to read Public Address a bit for some interesting viewpoints and articles; not so much these days. Thing is, I don't agree with the AGW mindset. Perhaps because I'm practically inclined, I like to see the facts. There is in fact no empirical evidence for CO2 being the problem it is touted to be, and no statistically significant global warming for two decades. Far too many people are enriching themselves at the expense of others on the back of this scare. Reality tends to show the error of faith based reasoning, even if it does take time, and cause unnecessary suffering, which the policies endorsed by the IPCC have demonstrably done. So let's see how this faith pans out long term. I have learnt that it is a waste of time debating the case with believers.
    McKay had it right:
    "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one"

    Eden Terrace • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    GST on a $1.29 iTunes purchase would only be about 2 cents!!!

    Maybe he pays a different rate... Wizards have ways...

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Peter Shaw,

    There is in fact no empirical evidence for CO2 being the problem it is touted to be, and no statistically significant global warming for two decades

    Thanks for that Pete. Have a nice evening.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen, in reply to st ephen,

    Should add: the methane GWP estimates are not Laws of Physics or Chemistry - they're outputs from models. There is a feeling that the estimated GWP grossly over-estimates methane's contribution to damaging climate change (a view held by more than just dairy farmers and climate change deniers).

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith, in reply to Andre,

    Hi Andre

    The dairy farmers and manufacturers have a monopoly that extends to retail, FMCG etc. Now cattle and sheep farmers want a monopoly too.

    It's not a monopoly - more a co-operative. Gets you better bargaining power. Think of it like a trade union but with more excrement.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

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