Climate change protests, & destroy Fonterra, destroy the economy?

Destroy dairy farming, destroy the economy?

Newstalk ZB: International calls for climate change

Hundreds of people joined climate action groups across Aotearoa New Zealand today, calling for bold and ambitious climate leadership in response to the Global Climate Action Summit hosted in California next week.

Interesting to see the use of ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’ in a news report.

Events in Auckland, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill, each highlighted different demands for local leaders.

Their main focus: removing the social licence of the oil, gas and coal sectors – the most carbon intensive industries.

Aucklanders gathered in The Domain, targeting the Museum’s sponsorship from coal industry partners, the Stevenson Foundation.

In Wellington, protestors called for the controversial annual Petroleum Conference to be banned from Wellington City Council-owned venues.

In Nelson, they discussed future campaigns to build a Fossil Free Nelson.

Other protests were more general:

Christchurch hosted a climate discussion and a spring fair.

Whanganui there was a soapbox for community speakers on climate change.

Invercargill and Southland communities demanded true climate action in Aotearoa.

Dunedin wasn’t mentioned in that report but it was at The Standard – A Tale of Two Protests:

A few minutes later, on the way through the Octagon, I stopped to chat with a few people who’d gathered as part of the global day of action called “Rise for Climate”, and I picked up some leaflets. When I first passed through, it was before their advertised “start” time and there was a very light smattering of something like a dozen people.

Fast forward one hour.

Coming back through the Octagon, I’d say there was maybe twenty people.

Not a well supported protest.

All white and all exuding a definate air of middle classness There was an electric car and some electric bikes and, to be honest, I immediately thought of a stall at a sales expo.

‘All white’ is a risky assumption.

Anyway, I’ve just this minute read the leaflets I gathered from the Octagon. There’s some good information within the half a dozen or so leaflets I grabbed. But some of the information is also, quite frankly, incredibly unhelpful, while a lot of it is decidedly naive. Overall, there’s too much confusing or irrelevant smash, and no timeless and simple “banner message” that might offer unity and a basis for people to built on.

Just to be clear. I’m not suggesting that everyone ought to be saying the same damned things about global warming or climate change, or that everyone ought to cleave to the same set of priorities.

But there has to be something short and sharp, something unequivocal and easy to grasp that allows people “entry”.

Until then, I suspect actions around global warming will remain somewhat “soft” – places and events where people already familiar with one another can gather to say hello – and the prospects for growing a large and broad based constituency of people, willing to stand up and proclaim that they give a shit –  well, that will remain decidedly low.

The problem with climate change activism and protest is that while many people acknowledge (and most climate scientists) acknowledge it as a significant and real problem, or potential problem, that vast majority of people see no imminent risk.

It must be hard to motivate people to protest now over things that they may or may not think might happen by the end of the century, or at some vague time in the future.

Attacking Fonterra (I don’t know where that banner was shown but it’s from NZH) is unlikely to prompt a popular uprising.

A problem for hard core climate protesters is they tend to be the more idealistic doomsayers who fail to come up with popular or practical solutions.



  1. BBC admits ‘we get climate change coverage wrong too often’

    In a briefing note sent to all staff warning them to be aware of false balance, the corporation has offered a training course on how to report on global warming. The move follows a series of apologies and censures for failing to challenge climate sceptics during interviews, including Nigel Lawson.

    The briefing note, obtained by the website Carbon Brief, was sent on Thursday by Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs. It includes a statement of BBC editorial policy that begins: “Climate change has been a difficult subject for the BBC, and we get coverage of it wrong too often.”

    It then states: “Manmade climate change exists: If the science proves it we should report it.” In the section warning on false balance it says: “To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.”

    The Guardian revealed in October that the BBC had apologised for an interview with Lord Lawson on the Radio 4 Today programme after admitting it had breached its own editorial guidelines for allowing him to claim that global temperatures have not risen in the past decade. The regulator Ofcom subsequently ruled the BBC had breached broadcasting rules.

    The Today programme was also censured by the BBC complaints unit for an interview with Lawson in February 2014 and has been criticised for failing to implement fully the findings of the BBC Trust’s 2011 review into the “accuracy of the BBC’s coverage of science”.

    The four-page briefing note sent by Unsworth starts with a blunt statement on the science: “Climate change IS happening.” It also covers the implications of global warming: “There is a general consensus that it could be devastating in many different ways.” It ends with “common misconceptions” used to deny manmade warming, including that “not all scientists think manmade climate change is real” and “climate change has happened before”.

    The briefing note does not completely rule out including climate sceptics in BBC coverage: “There are occasions where contrarians and sceptics should be included. These may include, for instance, debating the speed and intensity of what will happen in the future, or what policies government should adopt.”

    But it adds: “Journalists need to be aware of the guest’s viewpoint and how to challenge it effectively. As with all topics, we must make clear to the audience which organisation the speaker represents, potentially how that group is funded and whether they are speaking with authority from a scientific perspective.” Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation does not disclose its source of funding.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th September 2018

      Utterly disgraceful. On a par with the Feminazi suppression I posted in the Free Speech and deplatforming thread.

      • robertguyton

         /  9th September 2018

        Made-made climate change is real, Alan. The Beeb Beeb Ceeb says so.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  9th September 2018

          Of course it is, Robert. So are natural factors. It is very complex and important which is exactly why free debate must be encouraged and not suppressed. The BBC is run by spineless fuckwits as you would expect in a feather-bedded bureaucracy.

  2. Fonterra’s Edendale factory burns enormous amounts of low-grade coal day in, day out. If the column of greenhouse gas rising from the chimney could be seen by the human eye, people would have a different opinion about that practice.

    • In your opinion, what should change?

      • robertguyton

         /  9th September 2018

        The culture needs to change, Pete; Fonterra’s and ours. We are continuing to fuel climate change with our behaviours and we justify doing that by believing what our culture has taught us: The production of greenhouse gases on that scale is what should change in my example.. Fonterra burn that coal because it is cheap and the source nearby. It would affect their profitability to do something different, so they continue in the face the need to stop causing climate change. We support that behaviour, believing what our culture teaches.

        • That hasn’t really answered my question. What specifically do you think should Fonterra should do about their Edendale plant? And what should happen with dairy farming in Southland?

          • You haven’t understood my answer, Pete. No matter. In simple, practicle terms, Fonterra should change to a process and fuel that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, or at least far fewer than at present. Coal isn’t an option here, but it’s the one they’re sticking with, ‘coz, cheap. The will have to chnge their machinery to suit, but won’t because it’s expensive to change. If they can’t make the change, they should pay or compensate for the gg they spew into our (shared) atmosphere (like that emotive stuff?). This would be just stage one of what Fonterra should do to help rein in AGW, in my view.

            • Pink David

               /  9th September 2018

              “Fonterra should change to a process and fuel that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases”

              What fuel?


              The other processes are;

              CSP solar

              Which one should they use?

            • Gezza

               /  9th September 2018

              Possibly not his problem: he’s an “Ideas Man”?

              I worked with plenty of them. They were usually frackin useless.

            • robertguyton

               /  9th September 2018

              Surely, David, anything’s better than lignite!

            • Pink David

               /  9th September 2018

              That depends entirely on what criteria you judge on.

              Gas would be simple and effective, but that requires fracking or offshore drilling & pipelines to connect the South Island.

              Wood is also straightforward, but is likely to involve large shipments of lumber from North America to sustain it.

              Electric is being implemented at small scale, however it is very expensive and to provide for the large loads will require a massive increase in hyrdo capacity, or alternative power sources and distribution.

              The others are all uneconomic and would shut the industry down if they were the only options.

        • Pink David

           /  9th September 2018

          “It would affect their profitability to do something different”

          What do you suggest as the ‘something different’? Does this something different simply ‘affect’ their profitability, or make the operation completely uneconomic?

        • Conspiratoor

           /  9th September 2018

          Robert, what are your thoughts on the possibility of a new generation of small modular nuclear plants as a way of decarbonising the electric grid and combating climate change?
          Safer reactors that operate under lower pressure, can’t melt down and use fuel more efficiently to reduce waste. They can also step in and carry the base load when the suns not out and the wind refuses to blow.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th September 2018

      I gather it is too cleanburning for your liking then, Robert?

      • Fight4NZ

         /  9th September 2018

        God loves a trier.
        Clean burning = more CO2 = worse.
        But to the point, it does seem low hanging fruit to move to renewable energy source. Or use a scubber.

        • Nice try, Flight4NZ. Fonterra scrub particulates from their stack but don’t capture CO2. Don Elder, when he was CEO Solid Energy, assured me that the gg created by the proposed briquette factory at Mataura, would be piped to the emptied oil wells in the Great South Basin – if he was telling the truth 🙂 Fonterra could do as Don promised, and sequester their gasses back into the ground from whence they came. But they won’t. Renewwable energy in Southland is wood waste and the supplies have already been secured through the work of Venture Southland. Big Industry is dragging the chain, coz, cost and culture.

          • Pink David

             /  9th September 2018

            “Renewwable energy in Southland is wood waste and the supplies have already been secured through the work of Venture Southland.”

            Well that is good to know, does that mean you have the figures for how many tons of wood Edendale will burn per year, and how much of that Venture Southland will supply?

            • Griff.

               /  9th September 2018

              Here dave
              The internet is a great tool for those who can cope with asking the right questions .
              Fontera has committed to a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030 and zero by 2050.

            • Pink David

               /  9th September 2018

              I am aware of the report. It does not contain the answers the questions I have asked above.

              The only commitment Fonterra has currently made is to work with ‘mixed’ coal/wood boiler for it’s expansion at their smallest plant in the South Island. They are also following Synlait in installing a very small electric boiler at Sterling.

              The other promise is to ‘explore’ options.

            • robertguyton

               /  9th September 2018

              I don’t work for Fonterra, Pink David, but am a councillor on the regional council that receives reports from the Dairy Giant regarding their activities at Edendale. As well I sit on the committee that Venture Southland reports to, so I’ve a pretty good idea of what’s developing, though no hard figures. I expect to be sorely diosyapointed at the rate of change from coal to …whatever is chosen to replace it as a fuel.

  3. Griff.

     /  9th September 2018

    I sometimes read The Standard on climate change
    They are as bad as the right wing blogs when it comes to a lack of knowledge.
    Some of the posts they have had have been just as wrong except on the extreme side as what you get on Whale.

    Fontera has a issue with the amount of coal they use .
    At some stage they will have to invest a significant amount of money to reduce emissions as their markets get more serious at accounting for CO2 use.

    There is far less motivation to protest here as our political party’s are not pushing outright denial like the GOP, UKIP or the Liberals in AU. National will not roll back the gains labor has made over this term in goverment. As a climate hawk I am quite happy with the direction NZ is heading in. I know it is going to be too little too late NZ alone can not change the entire worlds trajectory when it comes to climate change.

    The impact of climate change is not linear .
    This year we have seen unprecedented wild fires major storm damage and extreme heat waves hit large regions around the world,. The frequncy of these events are already making denial untenable in the developed world . In two decades the impact will only be more apparent to the average person as insurance cost increases begin to hit home.

    • That’s a very well considered and accurate assessment, Griff and I agree with what you have said.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th September 2018

      Earthquakes have hit NZ insurance costs much harder than climate change. And that is a natural cause.

      • robertguyton

         /  9th September 2018

        “Earthquakes have hit NZ insurance costs much harder than climate change. ”
        For the moment. Wait till the insurers who cover coastal housing to pull the pin – then well see the balance shift. Naturally.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  9th September 2018

          The insurers will want to see facts. Unfortunately councils and politivians are far more likely to act on moral panics and speculation – and are already doing so with disastrous consequences for some unlucky people.

  4. Rickmann

     /  9th September 2018

    When the French were testing at Mururoa I, as a young intelligence officer in the Science and Technology section of then Joint intelligence Bureau which had been tasked, along with the DSIR, in monitoring and reporting on said tests, attended, in a private capacity, a public meeting in Wellington to debate the issue. At the meeting the DSIR reported on its findings which were that they could not find significant radiation resulting from the tests. Next day in the Dominion and/or Evening Post, there was no mention of the DSIR’s submission, only that of the protestors.

    Since returning to NZ after a long absence overseas, I have found the situation to be much worse. We may live in a world with massive geopolitical risk, incredibly unstable financial markets and demographic disasters, but the news media is obsessed with gender feminism and LBGT issues etc, and protecting us from hearing from people who are not politically correct. More recently, several of my young relatives have also briefly returned to NZ from Blighty to be stunned by the incredibly low level and tribal group think of most of the news media and announced to the family that they will not be returning to this “intellectual wasteland” and probably going, like so many others, to Australia or back to the UK. This echoes most of my school and flat mates of the past who now live in Australia, the UK, Africa (for Chrissakes !) and Japan.

    Patrick Gower and friends provide one example

    So embarrassing.

    Saved by the internet.

    • Blazer

       /  9th September 2018

      ‘ At the meeting the DSIR reported on its findings which were that they could not find significant radiation resulting from the tests’

      So how competent were the D.S.I.R…then?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  9th September 2018

        Undoubtedly sufficiently competent to measure and report radiation levels.