Effects of climate change in the mountains and elsewhere

The effects of climate change are not just predicted and theoretical, they are real and observable. I have noticed changes here – more mild winters, the decrease in number and severity of frosts, and earlier flowering.

Not so visible changes from Reuters:

We know that the iconic Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are receding.

And observations from New Zealand mount climbers (in relation to the avalanche that killed two people in the Southern Alps this week) – Climbing tragedies: Why climate change is becoming a factor

Climbing guides Martin Hess and Wolfgang Maier were killed on Mt Hicks yesterday – and adventurer Jo Morgan was lucky to survive – after an early morning avalanche.

Climate change has become a factor in climbers’ decisions about when to venture into the Southern Alps.

While climbing in spring risks avalanches, climate change is – more frequently than in the past – presenting another obstacle for climbers who wait for summer.

Owner of Wanaka guiding company Adventure Consultants, Guy Cotter, said yesterday this is the time of the year when climbing begins to “ramp up”.

“This whole November, early December period is a very popular time for climbing the big mountains here.”

“With the snow left over from winter we have very good access around the glaciers and up the mountains.”

But, he said, “glacial recession” meant some areas are not accessible from about New Year, because of crevasses opening up in glaciers “a lot more quickly than what they used to”.

“The crevasses open up because the snow melts that’s covering them … and filling them up.

“That all ablates over the summer and we’re down to the raw skeleton of the glacier with all of its crevasses.

“So it really does make a very big difference in what you can access.”

Cotter said Mt Hicks was one of those mountains where there was now an issue with access in summer and it was “very rarely climbed” for that reason.

Cotter said the loss of snow was happening earlier than it did 30 years ago when he started climbing.

“We could access most places all through the summer.

“Now it’s a lot more difficult to get to some of the mountains and get off.

“It’s definitely part of climate change and the glaciers are definitely disappearing.

“Anyone who’s denying global warming is not a mountaineer because we can see it first hand.”

Of course this won’t stop arguments about climate change caused by humans versus normal cyclical climate change, but it all adds weight to the fact that our world is changing. and we need to be able to adapt to it. If we can mitigate the impact, then we should be doing what is possible and practical to do that.

Oram – the crucial methane decision

Rod Oram at Newsroom: The crucial but contentious methane decision

We’ll know by Christmas the salient features of the most important new legislative framework this country will adopt in generations, the Government promises.

Meanwhile, intense lobbying is underway to shape one of the most critical components of it which will significantly determine the legislation’s effectiveness.

The framework is the Zero Carbon Bill, which will set our long-term climate goals – the Government is likely to propose net zero emissions of human-induced greenhouse gases by 2050 – and the mechanisms to guide our policy, technical, economic, political and social responses to achieve that formidable challenge.

The crucial component is how to handle methane. Globally, the gas contributes 28 percent of human-induced climate warming. But it’s a far more intense issue for us.

When, how and by how much we reduce methane will have far ranging impacts on climate and the economy. Simplistically, if we make good decisions, we’ll meet our climate goals, and our agricultural scientists and farmers will contribute to the global challenge of making meat and dairy foods more climate compatible. If we do it badly, we’ll damage our climate and farming reputations, and thus our economy.

At the heart of the methane issue are some still evolving scientific answers to questions about methane’s warming potential and how countries should best handle its reduction.

The debate intensified here in June with the publication of a paper in Climate and Atmospheric Science, a new addition to Nature’s stable of science journals.

Two of the authors were Prof. David Frame, a climate scientist at Victoria University and director of its New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, and Adrian Macey, a retired diplomat who was NZ’s first Climate Change Ambassador 2006-10, then chair of the UN’s Kyoto climate protocol until 2011. His current roles include an adjunct professorship at the Institute.

Frame, Macey and their colleagues argued that the conventional way of measuring methane’s climate impact was flawed, and that they had devised a better way. Using this new metric, they argued that because methane was short-lived, so was its impact on climate change. Therefore if we stabilised our methane emissions at or slightly below current levels they would contribute no additional warming.

Thus, any policy pressure to reduce methane emissions more steeply should wait until there were proven, cost-effective technologies for farmers to do so. Delaying reductions would not change the methane’s climate impact.

This has encouraged some organisations in the primary sector to renew their calls for agriculture to be excluded from our over-arching climate framework to guide our transition to a low emissions economy, or at least to give agriculture an easy ride in it.

See previous post from Pastoral Farming Climate Research: The issues with methane emissions

Above all, the most important step the Government and all other parties must take is simple: define our 2050 climate target in the Bill and the mechanisms to drive it such as an independent Climate Change Commission.

Then leave the Commission to set five-year, sinking carbon budgets, which will adapt over time to the changing science, technology and economics driving emissions reductions; and to evaluate the success of successive governments’ policies in doing so.

Earlier columns from Oram were on:

 

The issues with methane emissions

Livestock methane emissions are contentious as New Zealand looks to how it can do it’s bit in reducing the greenhouse effect and global warming.

With calls to significantly reduce herd sizes there is obviously a lot at stake for farmers – not just their incomes but also their assets.

This information is from Pastoral Farming Climate Research:


Fact sheet Methane emissions, what they say and what is the issue?

With the upcoming Carbon Zero Legislation bound to create discussion about the impact methane emissions have on global warming. This fact sheet is intended to help those involved in that discussion to understand the issue.

It is commonly stated that livestock are responsible for half our greenhouse gas emissions.

This statement is misleading and gives the wrong impression of the extent to which livestock biological emissions are a problem.

Livestock are responsible for half our ‘carbon’ emissions but carbon is not a greenhouse gas. Carbon is a theoretical unit only and is correctly called ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’

All the greenhouse gases are quantified in terms of the amount of warming they are said to cause when compared to CO2. A tonne of methane for example is said to equate to 25 tonnes of CO2 so an emission of 1 tonne of methane is quantified as 25 tonnes of ‘carbon’

The majority of the carbon emissions attributed to livestock are from their methane emissions.

The carbon unit however is highly problematic, as is the concept of trying to equate different greenhouse gases. It is simply not possible because they are too different.

The following statements from well-respected individuals and organsiations demonstrate the problem;

Dr Andy Reisinger Deputy Director NZAGR said of the use of the carbon dioxide equivalent system to quantify methane emissions, that it does not measure the actual warming caused by emissions and ignores the fact that methane does not accumulate in the atmosphere in the same way as CO2. (1)

This is a significant admission. If the carbon unit does not measure the actual warming methane may cause and ignores the fact that methane does not accumulate in the same way CO2 does then it is of no use at all.

ALSO

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research state in their paper Cows, Sheep and Science;

To stabilise the climate, it is necessary to reduce the overall (net) emissions of long-lived climate forcers (CO2) to zero. By contrast, emissions of short-lived climate forcers (methane) do not have to decline to zero; they only have to stop increasing. (2)

AND

Ministry for Environment in its Carbon Zero Consultation document.

Reducing long-lived greenhouse gas emissions (like CO2) to zero and stabilising our short-lived gases, (like methane) which would mean our domestic emissions would not contribute to any further increase in global temperatures. (3)

AND

Dr Jan  Wright (former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment)   MANAGING BIOLOGICAL SOURCES AND SINKS IN THE CONTEXT OF NEW ZEALAND’S RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Methane in the atmosphere is short-lived, in contrast with nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. If the flow of methane into the atmosphere stopped rising, and there were no other greenhouse gas emissions, the temperature of the atmosphere would stabilise in a few decades. (4)

AND

Productivity Commission In its 620 page report Low Emissions Economy methane produced by the belching of sheep and cows – is unsuitable for inclusion in a single-cap ETS due to the difficulty such a scheme would have in driving emissions reductions in a manner that recognises the different atmospheric properties of short and long-lived gases. (5)

____________________________________________________________________________________

The quotes above demonstrate why it is universally accepted now that long lived gases like CO2 need a different target and policy response to short lived gases like methane.

However it is not possible to state that in order to stabilize the climate carbon emissions sourced from CO2 need to reduce to zero and carbon emissions sourced from methane only have to stop increasing, without concluding carbon is not an equivalence unit. Carbon’s only purpose is to equate the impacts of a number of different greenhouse gases and quantify them using one unit and it fails. One carbon emission is supposed to be the same as another and quite clearly it is not. It is not a credible unit and should not be used.

So the statement that half our greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock is wrong and therefore misleading for two reasons.

1         Carbon is not a greenhouse gas

2         Carbon is not a credible unit and emissions of ‘carbon’ do not reflect the impact an activity may have on global warming.

Putting methane emissions in to perspective’

Livestock emissions of methane when produced from a stable source of livestock do not cause the atmospheric concentration of methane to increase at all.

Most biogenic methane emissions in NZ are produced from a stable source and do not contribute to an increase in atmospheric methane.

Methane emissions in NZ have increased by 4% since 1990. Transport emissions of CO2 have increased by 82.1% since 1990

For full explanation view video The Methane Mistake (7mins)  https://youtu.be/BOJdz_LgDBE

___________________________________________________________________________________

1 Andy Reisinger, Harry Clark, How much do direct livestock emissions actually contribute to global warming?

2 Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Cows, Sheep and Science 2016 written by Michele Hollis, Cecile de Klein, Dave Frame, Mike Harvey, Martin Manning, Andy Reisinger, Suzi Kerr, Anna Robinson  http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/16_17.pdf

3 Ministry for Environment Carbon Zero consultation document http://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Consultations/FINAL-%20Zero%20Carbon%20Bill%20-%20Discussion%20Document.pdf

4 Dr Jan Wright Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Climate Change and Agriculture 2016

5 Productivity Commission Low Emissions economy 2018

What if climate change is worse, and does the public care?

A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that warned of the possible effects of climate change largely focussed on what might be a less bad scenario than what some say is possible.

Temperature rise predictions are scientifically backed but are still just predictions. Some say things won’t be as bad (based on what apart from claiming scientists are wrong?), but if the science is questionable the predictions could just as easily be under-predicting.

Some warn that things could be worse, even much worse. But over the top alarmist warnings may be counter-productive.

NY Mag: UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That.

Effectively accusing everyone of ‘climate genocide’ unless we all reduce our emissions is turn the public off listening to an already problem that is on aa much bigger scale problem than their every day lives.

The alarming new report you may have read about this week from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which examines just how much better 1.5 degrees of warming would be than 2 — echoes the charge. “Amplifies” may be the better term. Hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, the report declares, should the world warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which it will do as soon as 2040, if current trends continue.

Nearly all coral reefs would die out, wildfires and heat waves would sweep across the planet annually, and the interplay between drought and flooding and temperature would mean that the world’s food supply would become dramatically less secure. Avoiding that scale of suffering, the report says, requires such a thorough transformation of the world’s economy, agriculture, and culture that “there is no documented historical precedent.”

The New York Times declared that the report showed a “strong risk” of climate crisis in the coming decades; in Grist, Eric Holthaus wrote that“civilization is at stake.”

It risks becoming little more than a ‘the Martians are coming’ type warning to ordinary people. We;ve seen it all happen at the movies, and we still get to scoff ridiculous amounts of popcorn and walk out afterwards unscathed apart from being a bit fatter and adding to another crisis for humanity, obesity.

If you are alarmed by those sentences, you should be — they are horrifying. But it is, actually, worse than that — considerably worse. That is because the new report’s worst-case scenario is, actually, a best case. In fact, it is a beyond-best-case scenario. What has been called a genocidal level of warming is already our inevitable future. The question is how much worse than that it will get.

Barring the arrival of dramatic new carbon-sucking technologies, which are so far from scalability at present that they are best described as fantasies of industrial absolution, it will not be possible to keep warming below two degrees Celsius — the level the new report describes as a climate catastrophe. As a planet, we are coursing along a trajectory that brings us north of four degrees by the end of the century.

The IPCC is right that two degrees marks a world of climate catastrophe. Four degrees is twice as bad as that. And that is where we are headed, at present — a climate hell twice as hellish as the one the IPCC says, rightly, we must avoid at all costs. But the real meaning of the report is not “climate change is much worse than you think,” because anyone who knows the state of the research will find nothing surprising in it.

The real meaning is, “you now have permission to freak out.”

Scientifically it is as likely that temperature rises will be twice as bad as there being no change at all, if scientists are wrong in their predictions – and that doesn’t take into account that most science suggests that temperatures are increasing and will increase further, the uncertainty being simply by how much.


There is a major problem with all this planet scale problem telling and ‘scaremongering’ – as individuals we are pretty powerless and eating one chop less or having less milk in our coffee is not going to make any real difference.

Danyl Mclauchlan (The Spinoff): Step one: accept people don’t, and may never, give a toss about climate change

One of the things the IPCC report makes clear is that we’re already living in the climate changed future. The world has warmed by one degree since the beginning of the industrial revolution and this is causing storm surges, fiercer droughts, stronger hurricanes, heat waves; intensifying extreme weather events all around the world, causing massive economic damage and political instability. So if we want to see how our politicians will cope with the problem of climate change in the future, all we need to do is see how what they’re doing now. And … it’s not quite nothing, at least in New Zealand: there’s the oil and gas exploration ban, the carbon commission, the Carbon Zero bill. But, realistically, it’s not even close to what’s needed.

I don’t think this is the fault of our political class or the media, who are the usual scapegoats in this debate. Even the energy industry and its lobbyists – who are, to be sure, literally destroying the world – are only doing what powerful interests have always done, and will always do: defend their own wealth and privilege, deluding themselves into believing they’re on the right side of history by defending society against a malevolent conspiracy of climatologists. The core problem is much deeper and harder to fix: it’s that not many people care about climate change.

Why don’t more people care about climate change? There is any number of grand sociological theories but I think the heart of it is that humans “discount the future”. Our brains are hardwired to prefer upfront benefits and deferred costs over upfront costs and deferred gains. That’s why we have credit card debt. It’s why we eat unhealthy food. It’s why your retirement savings are locked away in an account you can’t touch until you’re 65. It’s why I make about 90% of the poor choices I make on any given day. You can get angry about this and rail against it, but we are what we are. Human nature is very tough to change.

(That whole article is well worth reading, I have quoted just a small part of it).

So we are relying on our politicians to do something despite us. And what do they do?

Jacinda Ardern admonishes fuel companies for putting prices up alongside taxes Ardern’s Government has put up because it might deter people from using as much carbon emitting fossil fuel. Mclauchlan:

Like Charlie Mitchell over at Fairfax I was struck by the juxtaposition of the prime minister talking about lower fuel prices on the same day the new IPCC Special Report on global warming emphasised the massive damage caused by fuel emissions and the urgent need to take very drastic action to reduce them.

And Simon Bridges and National start a petition demanding that the Government reduce fuel taxes. And that may get some support from people silly enough to give their phone numbers and emails to a political marketing machine.

Petty politics rules, and the public doesn’t care about that nor about the colossal climate change campaigns.

What’s the point in caring about what the world does to avert a climate crisis? We will probably eat ourselves to death before a cyclone strikes.

Darwinism may eventually kill off over-eaters so the surviving population consume much less on average, but that will take too long to overcome the floods and droughts that put food production into chaos.

2018 IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

A new IPCC assessment warns that urgent action is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and this would “require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.


Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15 or www.ipcc.ch.

Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence
– 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
– 60 Lead authors (LAs)
– 17 Review Editors (REs)

133 Contributing authors (CAs)
Over 6,000 cited references
A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments
(First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)

James Shaw on progress on the Zero Carbon Bill

On Newshub Nation this morning (repeated Sunday morning):

As the Government inches closer to passing the Zero Carbon Bill into law, Emma Jolliff asks its architect and Party co-leader James Shaw what the chances are of getting New Zealand’s farmers across the line.

From Thursday: Zero Carbon consultation feedback shows strong support for climate action

The Ministry for the Environment has today released a summary of submissions made during consultation on the proposed Zero Carbon Bill.

“I firstly want to thank all those people who made submissions on the Bill,” James Shaw said.

“The vast majority of respondents want New Zealand to do everything we can to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, and offset the remainder, to reach ‘net-zero’ emissions by 2050.

It should be remembered that submissions are a democratic process, not a democratic measure, so the number of submissions for or against something is not a measure of public support. It is more an indication of levels of organises lobbying.

“At the same time, there was a strong representation from people and businesses who, whilst supporting the overall direction, expressed caution about the speed and scale of the transition and the pressure it will put their sectors under.

“We have to ensure that those concerns are heard and included as we put together the final shape of the Zero Carbon Bill. We need to take everyone with us and leave no one behind.

  • A full report of the submissions is available here.
  • The Ministry for the Environment media release is here.
  • The summary of Zero Carbon Bill submissions is here.

I’ll be busy doing some of my zero net carbon (-ish) tree felling and firewood cutting so might get a chance to add to this later.

 

 

Ardern On the Night Show, One Planet Summit and UN General Assembly

Jacinda Ardern has been making a number of TV appearances and speeches while in New York.

She handled an interview on Steven Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ with aplomb.

RNZ – Watch: Jacinda Ardern cracks jokes on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won the applause of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s studio audience in New York.

Stuff – Jacinda Ardern wins fans as she appears on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Praise is rolling in for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Ardern was an invited guest on the show, which has a viewership of four million.

Her success on the show and the positive public response is similar to the reaction she’s had while on formal United Nations duties in New York.

She has done well for New Zealand there.

One Planet Summit keynote address

President Macron’s One Planet Summit

Can I start President Macron by acknowledging your leadership in pulling together this summit for a second time; along with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Michael Bloomberg and Dr Jim Yong Kim for jointly organising this event.

I have said a few times before that climate change is New Zealand’s nuclear free moment. I want to share with you what that means.

There was a time when my nation was unified by a movement against nuclear testing in the Pacific, declaring ourselves nuclear-free in the mid-1980s. At its core New Zealand’s anti-nuclear campaign was about protecting our beautiful and unique Pacific environment – our waters, our lands and our people. We felt a sense of guardianship.

She doesn’t mention the French sinking of the rainbow warrrior.

Today we face a new threat, and while the same issues are at stake, there is a stark difference between the nuclear free movement and climate change. Unity.

In the past we were defined as a nation by the coming together for a cause, and now, as a globe, we need to do the same again. Not because of the benefits of unity, but because of the necessity of it.

This is especially the case for the Pacific.

My country has always been a firm supporter of strong multilateral solutions to global challenges. We may be small but Kiwis take the attitude that no problem is too big to solve.

We were the first country to give women the vote, the first to set up a welfare state to support the poor during the depths of the depression and the first to scale the imposing heights of Mt Everest. We intend to be with you on the forefront of this challenge too.

I believe, as firmly as ever, that a global response is required to meet the global challenge of our generation. With unity, ingenuity and innovation, we will meet this challenge head on and we will succeed.

That’s a big call – calls actually, that we (new Zealand and the world) will meet the challenge, and that success is possible, whatever that may be (it will be very difficult to measure).


And Ardern is speaking to the UN General Assembly about now.

“It is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s big day at the UN as she delivers her first statement as Prime Minister to the UN General Assembly. Ardern is due to give her speech early this morning, likely between 6am and 7.30am.” Herald

Some live links to Jacinda’s UN speech:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/107404413/jacinda-ardern-to-speak-to-the-un-general-assembly

Live: PM Jacinda Ardern to say where NZ stands on ‘two world views’ in UN statement
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12132926

http://webtv.un.org/

Ardern announces in New York an increase in NZ’s Pacific climate commitment

As a keynote speaker in New York at the launch of Climate Week NYC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced an  increase in New Zealand’s global climate finance commitment “to $300 million over four years”.

When you read through the press release it is clarified as “a significant increase on our existing commitment of $200m in the four years to 2019” – so an increase of $100m over four years, or $25m per year, from an already announced budget.

Beehive: New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific

The Prime Minister is in New York attending the United Nations Leaders Week and action on climate change is high on her agenda.

The increased investment is being made from New Zealand’s Overseas Development Assistance, which was increased by nearly 30% ($NZ714 million) in Budget 2018 to support the Pacific Reset.

“This funding allocation will focus on practical action that will help Pacific countries adapt to climate change and build resilience. For example, providing support for coastal adaptation in Tokelau to reduce the risks of coastal inundation;  and continuing our efforts to strengthen water security across the Pacific, building on current initiatives such as those in Kiribati where we are working to provide community rainwater harvesting systems and are investing in desalination,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and to taking urgent action to support our transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.

“New Zealand is committing to providing at least $300m over four years in climate-related development assistance, with most of this going to the Pacific.

“We have a responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond our domestic borders, and in New Zealand’s case towards the Pacific.

“The focus of this financial support is on creating new areas of growth and opportunity for Pacific communities.  We want to support our Pacific neighbours to make the transition to a low carbon economy without hurting their existing economic base.

“Climate change is a priority area for New Zealand’s Pacific Reset announced by Foreign Minister Peters in February. This commitment of $300m over four years is a significant increase on our existing commitment of $200m in the four years to 2019.

“We recognise our neighbours in the Pacific region are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This week I will be making a number of representations alongside our Pacific neighbours to ensure the world is aware of the impact of climate change in our region and the cost of inaction.

“This funding will complement our ongoing support to help developing countries in the Pacific and beyond meet their emissions targets through renewable energy and agriculture initiatives,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern’s speech to the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC:


Kaitiakitanga: Protecting our planet

President Moïse; Secretary Espinosa; Governor Brown

I’d like to begin with a word often used in New Zealand, that you may not – until now – have ever had the opportunity to hear: kaitiakitanga.

It’s Te Reo Māori, a word in the language of indigenous New Zealanders, and in my mind, it captures the sentiment of why we are here.

It means ‘guardianship’. But not just guardianship, but the responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, and the idea that we have a duty of care that eventually hands to the next generation, and the one after.

We all hold this responsibility in our own nations, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond the domestic. Our duty of care is as global as the challenge of climate change.

In the Pacific, we feel that acutely as do countries like Bangladesh where land is literally being lost, and fresh water is being inundated with salt water due to climate change.

There is no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation.

Whether there will be enough food and freshwater.  Whether our towns and cities will be free from inundation from rising seas or extreme rainfalls and devastating storms.  Whether the biodiversity that lends our planet its richness and its resilience will survive.  Whether the growth and economic development that provided an incredible path to lift people out of poverty will be stunted by the widespread, systemic impacts of climate change.

There is no country, no region that does not already feel the impacts of climate change.  For New Zealand’s neighbours in the Pacific, who are already losing their soil and freshwater resources to salt from the ocean, these are not hypothetical questions.  They are immediate questions of survival.

Although New Zealand accounts for a tiny percentage of global emissions – only 0.16 percent – we recognise the importance of doing our part.

But more importantly we recognise that global challenges require everyone’s attention and action. And we all have responsibility to care for the earth in the face of climate change.

This is not the time to apportion responsibility, this is the time to work across borders and to do everything we can by working together.

We are working internationally and want to do more to share research and ideas, build opportunities together with other nations.

New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and we are taking urgent action to transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.  Our focus is on doing this in a way that creates new areas of growth and opportunity for our communities.

At home, my Minister for Climate Change is this week preparing a Zero Carbon Bill to legislate an ambitious goal that would be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement’s objective for the world to become carbon neutral in the second half of this century. We have already put in place some of the measures to get us there.

We are reviewing New Zealand’s emission trading scheme, to ensure it helps us deliver a net zero-emissions future.

We have a target of planting 1 billion trees over the next decade.

And we are no longer issuing permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.

It has been encouraging to see the groundswell of support for ambitious climate action in New Zealand.  60 CEOs representing half of all New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have committed to action. Our largest dairy company and major agricultural producers have declared themselves up for the challenge.

Local governments have long-term plans not only to adapt to climate change but to drive deep emissions reductions.  Communities and families are taking up the cause.  New Zealanders understand that it is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

The conversation has shifted dramatically. It was only 10 years ago that I was asked about climate change in a town hall election meeting. When I spoke passionately about our need to respond to this challenge, I was met with a boo that moved across the entire audience.

Now, the debate is no longer whether climate change is a threat, but how we can use our policies, actions and international linkages to drive the move to a low-emissions and inclusive society.  We know that the scale of this transformation is huge, and we are determined to leave no-one behind.  It will be a ‘just transition’ that works with people who might be affected, and turns this challenge into an opportunity.

In New Zealand’s home region of the Pacific we will work with others to support stronger and more resilient infrastructure, strengthened disaster preparedness, and low-carbon economic growth through both our funding commitments and by bringing good ideas to the table.

To support developing countries respond to the impacts of climate change, New Zealand will spend at least $300 million in climate-related development assistance over the next 4 years, with the majority of this to be spent in the Pacific.

We recognise that climate change poses a security threat to vulnerable nations, including our Pacific neighbours.

We understand that climate change brings new challenges to international legal frameworks.

As climate change causes sea-levels to rise, coastal states face the risk of shrinking maritime zones as their baselines move inward.

New Zealand firmly believes that coastal states’ baselines and maritime boundaries should not have to change because of human-induced sea level rise.

We are beginning work on a strategy to achieve the objective of preserving the current balance of rights and obligations under UNCLOS. Our goal is to find a way, as quickly as possible, to provide certainty to vulnerable coastal states that they will not lose access to their marine resources and current entitlements. We seek your support as we work to ensure that these states maintain their rights over their maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise.

You are all here today because you understand the need for global action to solve this global problem.  My government is committed to leadership both at home and abroad.

On the international stage we are pushing for the reform of fossil fuel subsidies; the $460 billion spent each year that works against climate ambition and could be better spent on building resilient societies.

We are leading research and collaboration on climate change and agriculture, including with many of you here today in the Global Research Alliance.  At COP24 we hope to see many of you at a New Zealand-led event on sustainable agriculture and climate change.  We’re aiming to encourage action to capture the ‘triple win’ – increasing agricultural productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening resilience to climate change impacts.

We are undertaking research in Antarctica to better understand the crucial role it plays in global systems, and the far reaching effects environmental change in Antarctica will have.

We, with the Marshall Islands, Sweden and France are building a Towards Carbon Neutrality Coalition. The 16 countries and 32 cities in the Coalition are developing long-term strategies for deep cuts of emissions in line with the long-term temperature limit goals we all agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

This week President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and I are hosting the first high-level meeting of the Coalition.  We’re going to launch the Coalition’s new Plan of Action and announce new members.

We are proud to join many of you in ambitious initiatives like the High Ambition Coalition, Powering Past Coal and the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Working Group.

And in the UNFCCC we are strong supporters of the Global Climate Action Agenda, with a special focus on agriculture.

Underpinning all of this action is the Paris Agreement and the critical decisions that will be made in Katowice this December. The rules that are agreed must be robust and credible, so that the Paris Agreement is effective and enduring.  The world can only reach the Paris goals if we have clarity and confidence about each other’s commitments and action.

As I have said to my fellow New Zealanders, I refuse to accept that the challenge of climate change is too hard to solve.  So, I join you today necessarily hopeful.  Hopeful that, if we genuinely commit to finding solutions together, no issue is truly unsolvable.

And hopeful that we, the 193 members states of the United Nations, can work towards solutions that deliver for our people.  Peace.  Dignity.  A good quality of life.  A resilient and sustainable future, and fulfilling the responsibility that is kaitiakitanga.

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.

 

Productivity Commission – low emissions economy

James Shaw (@jamespeshaw):

Getting to net zero emissions by 2050 is achievable & starting now is our best option to seize the opportunities and make a just transition says the Productivity Commission. I thank them for their work on a pathway to NZ becoming a low emissions economy


New Zealand Productivity Commission – Low-emissions economy

Final report August 2018

Context

New Zealand is part of the international response to address the impacts of climate change and to limit the
rise in global temperature, requiring a transition of the global economy to one consistent with a low carbon
and climate resilient development pathway.

New Zealand has recently formalised its first Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement
to reduce its emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Paris Agreement envisages all
countries taking progressively ambitious emissions reduction targets beyond 2030. Countries are invited to
formulate and communicate long-term low emission development strategies before 2020. The Government
has previously notified a target for a 50 per cent reduction in New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions from
1990 levels by 2050.

New Zealand’s domestic response to climate change is, and will be in the future, fundamentally shaped by
its position as a small, globally connected and trade-dependent country. New Zealand’s response also
needs to reflect such features as its high level of emissions from agriculture, its abundant forestry resources,
and its largely decarbonised electricity sector, as well as any future demographic changes (including
immigration).

Scope and aims

The purpose of this inquiry is identify options for how New Zealand could reduce its domestic greenhouse
gas emissions through a transition towards a lower emissions future, while at the same time continuing to
grow incomes and wellbeing.

Two broad questions should guide the inquiry.

What opportunities exist for the New Zealand economy to maximise the benefits and minimise the cost that
a transition to a lower net-emissions economy offers, while continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing?

How could New Zealand’s regulatory, technological, financial and institutional systems, processes and
practices help realise the benefits and minimise the costs and risks of a transition to a lower net emissions
economy?

Exclusions

This inquiry should not focus on the suitability of New Zealand’s current, or any future emissions reduction
target. In addition, the inquiry should not focus on the veracity of anthropogenic climate change, and should
only consider the implications of a changing climate to inform consideration of different economic pathways
along which the New Zealand economy could grow and develop.

17.3 Immediate priorities

Achieving New Zealand’s emissions reduction targets requires concerted effort and widespread change.
Among the numerous policies recommended in this report, three areas hold particular priority in
establishing the conditions needed for a successful transition. Change in these areas should be
implemented within the next two years to set the strategy on the right trajectory and avoid New Zealand
incurring unnecessary costs later in the transition.

Reform the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and introduce biogenic methane into an
emissions pricing system

Ensuring that emissions are appropriately priced is an essential component in New Zealand’s mitigation
strategy. Emissions pricing provides a strong incentive to reduce emissions at least cost. It decentralises
decisions to invest, innovate and consume across the economy to people who have the best information
about opportunities to lower their emissions. An emissions price is also pervasive through the whole
economy – shaping resource and investment decisions across all emitting sectors and sources.

However, the current NZ ETS has a number of weaknesses. The reforms to the NZ ETS set out in Chapter 5
should be a high priority so that the scheme begins to drive behavioural change and changes in land use –
particularly greater rates of afforestation. The emissions price in the NZ ETS will need to rise significantly, so
the sooner this process begins, the more gradual the price increase can be. Also, a higher emissions price in
the NZ ETS will help to identify those emissions sources where complementary policies are required to drive
emissions reductions.

Further, while the NZ ETS should be the primary mechanism to drive reductions in long-lived gas emissions
(such as from carbon dioxide and N2O), a pricing system should also be established for biogenic CH4. This
system, either a dual-cap NZ ETS or an alternative methane quota system, will separately incentivise
emissions reductions of biogenic CH4 in recognition of its nature as a short-lived GHG.

Clear and stable climate-change policies

New Zealand lacks clear and stable climate-change policies. This lack of clarity and political agreement
about longer-term goals has weakened incentives for change and undermined confidence in existing
policies. The Government is currently developing a Zero Carbon Bill that will set a 2050 emissions target and
aims to establish the foundations and institutions needed to meet that target. The Bill should establish:

  • legislated and quantified long-term GHG emissions reduction targets;
  • a system of successive “emissions budgets” that, separately for short- and long-lived gases, translate
    long-term targets into short- to medium-term reduction goals; and
  • an independent Climate Change Commission to act as the custodian of New Zealand’s climate policy
    and long-term, climate-change objectives. The Climate Change Commission should provide objective
    analysis and advice to the Government on the scale of emissions reductions required over the short to
    medium term; progress towards meeting agreed budgets and targets; and barriers, opportunities and
    priorities, to reduce emissions.

Substantial investment in the innovation system

New Zealand’s strategy for its transition to a low-emissions economy should have a strong focus on
innovation. Government should devote significantly more resources to low-emissions innovation than the
modest and inadequate current allocation (Chapter 6). Yet, extra resources are unlikely to yield significant
discoveries to assist in reducing emissions immediately. Rather, the investment will pay off more gradually
throughout the transition. But given the long timeframes involved in bringing innovative ideas to fruition, it is
important that the significant additional resources and infrastructure needed to boost New Zealand’s
innovation system are established quickly.

17.4 Meeting the challenge

New Zealand can achieve a successful low-emissions economy, but there will be challenges. Stronger action
in the immediate future is required, as delayed action will compound the transition challenge and risks
New Zealand being left behind in technology and economic opportunities. Sixteen years ago, the
Government enacted New Zealand’s current climate-change law. Yet, New Zealand has since made virtually
no progress in reducing its emissions, in part due to the absence of political consensus around the
fundamental need for action across the entire economy.

Shifting to a low-emissions trajectory will critically depend on political leadership and fortitude. Inertia and
resistance to change can be expected. The challenge will be one of communication and conveying the
advantages and opportunities of transformational change to the population at large. But, meeting this
challenge will likely be futile without broad agreement across the political spectrum on both the need and
means to make the transition.

This report sets out the policy architecture for New Zealand to transition to a low-emissions economy, while
continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing. Implementing the recommendations in this report will set
New Zealand on the path to meeting its emissions-reduction targets. Inevitably, the journey will be long and
punctuated by change and uncertainty. Technological change, climate-change policy in other countries, and
unintended consequences stemming from mitigation policies could each conspire to slow or derail progress.
While challenging, the transition is achievable given concerted commitment and effort across government,
business, households and communities – up to and beyond 2050.


It is a lengthy report with many findings and recommendations.

Final report August 2018