Student ‘strikes’ to protest climate change

The student strikes to raise awareness of the dangers to the planet of climate change have already been very successful. They have received a lot of publicity.

The protests will take place today around the country. I’m sure they will get a lot of media attention. More success guaranteed.

The big challenge for students who take part will be to make this more than an event. They somehow have to sustain the attention and pressure on politicians to actually make some sort of a difference in the medium term.

The media may or may not keep feeding the protests.

There were major protests against the TPPA, but they turned out to be ineffective while National were in Government (to an extent they were protests against the Government with the TPPA just a topical excuse. And those protests faded right away when Labour took over Government along with the Greens and NZ First, and when the TPPA morphed slightly into the CTPPA and took effect.

And that was quite a specific target.

Today’s protests seem very general, so it will be easy for politicians to make general nods of support whole doing little to make much difference.

Some young person on RNZ just said he read something from the UK that they are running out of fertile land in thirty years and faced starvation – I wonder if he realises that all the fertile land is not going to suddenly become unfertile. There are legitimate concerns about increasing population and growing demands for food, but food production is unlikely toi suddenly stall.

There has been months of build up, but students need to realise that there protests today are really a beginning, and not a solution.

Why school pupils are ‘striking’ to protest climate change

Mia Sutherland is a 17-year-old student from Christchurch. She is passionate about the environment, education, and humanitarian issues. She is a member of the Christchurch School Strike 4 Climate team and has had a role in the organisation and preparation of the event.

Stuff – Climate change: Why are we striking?

I am not a business owner, dairy farmer, or professional in any field, so I don’t think I can tell them what to do. However, I am a teenager. This, I would argue, gives me a bit more knowledge of the teenage brain than the average Kiwi adult.

Therefore, I cannot say I was surprised when, as I was informing some fellow youths of the strike, one of my friends said “I just don’t really get why we’re striking”.

Living in New Zealand is, to put it simply, pretty breezy compared to other countries in the world.

Sure, we have our issues and not everyone has it easy, but our quality of life is generally higher than many, or most, other countries. So, it’s really easy for us to say “but why are we doing this again?” because we just don’t see the impacts.

So, to run it down for those of you teens who just don’t get it, here’s why:

She details:

  • Climate refugees and sea levels rising
  • Loss of habitat and polar bears

I could go on about equally catastrophic effects of climate change, but I believe I’ve made my point.

The impacts are not limited to developing countries and polar bears – it has come for all of us. We, as a global community, are fighting this fight together, whether we like it or not.

So, youth: is a world with bleached coral, melted ice, flooded homes, and frequent cyclones one you want to live in? On your deathbed will you be regretting how you skipped school to go to a history-making, change-forcing, international rally, or how you stayed in class because you had your geography internal?

History will be made on March 15th, from 1pm in your city’s chosen location. Check out the School Strike 4 Climate Facebook page for more information. This is our future, and this is how we shape it.

I’m not sure what history will be made. Reversing climate change will take more than some time off school for some protests. But at least it is trying to do something.

Can Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ help save the world?

Reposted as requested:

Extinction Rebellion was established in the United Kingdom in October 2018 as a movement that aims to use tactics of nonviolent direct action in order to avert the effects of climate change. Since its formation it has rapidly spread to at least 35 other countries, including New Zealand, who have recently carried a few headline-grabbing protests, with the promise of more to come.

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement are encouraged by the fact that the movement has managed to tap into the sense of alarm over climate change, and mobilised many people not previously involved in protest, and we do not want to undermine the important work that they are doing, but we feel that there is a conversation that needs to be had about some of their demands.

While we support the means of using direct action tactics it is their ends that needs greater examination. Extinction Rebellion is essentially a reformist movement, whose earnest activists lack a real vision of what is needed if we are serious about halting the damage to our environment. Instead, they are pinning their hopes on merely making adjustments to the present system which is destroying our world.

We argue that this isn’t enough, and the only way to effectively campaign to halt climate change is to impart a true picture of a capitalism whose insatiable hunger for profit is not only undermining the working and living conditions of hundreds of millions of working people but the basis of life itself. The future of our planet depends on building a livable environment and a movement powerful enough to displace capitalism.

Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ are guilty of thinking that their demands can create an idyllic capitalism, managed by the state, that can end the destruction being caused to the Earth’s environment They see their role as just needing to make enough noise to wake up political and business leaders. Theirs is a view which sees capitalism moving towards sustainability and zero growth. It is the idea that capitalism can be reformed to become a green system. In this model of capitalist society lifestyles change and infrastructure are reformed while technical green advances are applied. It supposes that all would be well if we all bought organic food, never took a holiday anywhere which would involve flying, and put on more clothes in winter rather than turn up the heating. Green capitalism presumes it will be enough to replace fossil fuels with renewables, whilst leaving the overall system intact.

We argue that such a scenario completely ignores the way capitalism operates, and must operate, and is therefore hopelessly utopian. The present capitalist system is driven by the struggle for profit. The present system’s need for infinite growth and the finite resources of Earth stand in contradiction to each other. Successful operation of the system means growth or maximising profit, it means that nature as a resource will be exploited ruthlessly. The present destruction of the planet is rooted in the capitalist system of production and cannot be solved without a complete break with capitalism. Yet ending capitalism is something that Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ does not appear to be prepared to countenance, they are only attacking the symptoms rather than the cause. They see their green capitalism as a type of capitalism worth fighting for.

We, rather, see the need to create a different form of social organisation before the present system destroys us all. The entire system of production based on wage labour and capital needs to be replaced with a system which produces for human needs. All the half measures of converting aspects of capitalism to limit the damage to the environment, while the fundamentals of capitalism remain in place, are just wishful thinking, and to pretend they could solve our problems is deception on a grand scale.

The fact is that before production can be carried out in ecologically-acceptable ways capitalism has to go. Production for profit and the uncontrollable drive to accumulate more and more capital mean that capitalism is by its very nature incapable of taking ecological considerations into account properly, and to be honest it is futile to try to make it do so.

A sustainable society that is capable of addressing climate change can only be achieved within a world where all the Earth’s resources, natural and industrial, are under the common ownership of us all, as well as being under grassroots democratic control at a local and regional level. If we are going to organise production in an ecologically sound way we can either plead with the powers that be or we can take democratic control of production ourselves, and the reality is to truly control production we have to own and control the means of production. So, a society of common ownership and democratic control is the only framework within which the aims of Extinction Rebellion can be realised. In reality, to achieve their wish of halting climate collapse, those within Extinction Rebellion should be anarchists.

One of the demands of Extinction Rebellion is a call for participatory democracy, and yet they also talk of giving governments emergency war-time powers. It’s not altogether clear what they mean by this. Does it mean, for example, seizing fossil fuel industries and shutting them down? Enforcing new low-carbon, low-travel, and low-meat shifts in consumption? Or imposing sanctions against companies or countries trafficking in fossil fuels? Will it see imprisonment for those whose protest when they feel their interests may be compromised by green government legislation?

In the past, warlike conditions and major disasters typically were seen to justify the temporary abolition of democratic liberties, but how long will they last for this fight, what will be the endpoint, or will the special war-time powers last indefinitely? Would such a suspension of democracy be easy to reverse anyway? These are big questions, and, for those of us that value the limited freedoms we have, they need to be addressed.

Giving more power to the state is also a case of putting all your eggs in one basket as there is no one simple response to fixing climate change. Climate change will bring many issues, those that we can have a go at predicting, but also many unforeseen. Increasing the powers of the state reduces its ability to be flexible and capable of learning from policy mistakes. The fight against climate change must be associated with greater local democracy. We need more democracy, strengthening local and regional capacities to respond to climate change. For those in Extinction Rebellion who think that there can be only one pathway to addressing climate change, the erosion of democracy might seem to be “convenient.” History, however, tells us that suppression of democracy undermines the capacity of societies to solve problems.

Those campaigning with Extinction Rebellion are no doubt sincere and caring people who want something different for themselves and future generations. In their own lifestyles they probably have made genuine changes which are in line with a more ecologically sustainable way of living. So have we, but we are well aware that our individual lifestyle changes are not going to change the fundamental nature of the social system which is damaging the planet. Millions of us might give up using products which destroy the environment, but what effect do we really have in comparison with the minority who own and control the multinational corporations. Just 100 companies have been responsible for 71% of global emissions since 1988. They, and all businesses, have an interest in keeping their costs down, and profits up. If their profits come before the long-term interests of people, who can blame them for sacrificing our needs? They can act no other way.

We do not have faith that capitalists, or their parliamentary representatives, can act in time to limit climate change in a meaningful way, but when we make a call for revolution, the answer we mostly get is that the lesser evil of piecemeal reforms will take less time to achieve than our grand anarchist aims. However, we think it is an ill-advised attitude to take that small improvements are more worthy of support than realisable big ones. There is unlikely ever to be a government passing meaningful green legislation. Governments may pass a few minor reforms to appease green voters, the business owners themselves may realise that some of their brands may be harmed by a lack of environmental concern, and greenwash their product, but ultimately these acts will be a sticking plaster when what is required is major surgery.

If anyone concerned with Extinction Rebellion read this and grasps the impossibility of what they are asking for, then we would say it’s time to keep the methods of direct action that you are advocating, but change the demands. If Extinction Rebellion ever wants their arguments to carry any force, then they need to campaign to abolish capitalism and create a system of grassroots democracy.

In the UK a Green Anti-Capitalist Front has been created to work alongside Extinction Rebellion but with a greater focus on the capitalist roots of climate catastrophe. We feel that such a coalition is needed here in Aotearoa / New Zealand. If anyone is interested in working with us to create such a group we can be contacted via our e-mail address.

http://awsm.nz/2019/03/12/can-extinction-rebellion-aotearoa-nz-help-save-the-world/

Climate change protests versus school

More in the build up to Friday’s climate change protests that have already been effective at raising attention.

@BenThomasNZ:

If anyone is still interested in “should kids go on the the climate strike” takes, this one by a teacher I know is probably the best

If it’s a one-off or occasional thing I have no problem with children (teenagers) taking a bit of time off school to take part in an organised protest. It is likely to inspire them a lot more than just another day at school.

Global student climate strikes spread to New Zealand

Some people, probably many people, are getting very insistent that major things are done to combat climate change, believing that the future of the planet is at stake.

It seems a bit ironic given that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that combating climate change is the most important issue of the current time that urges to do something drastic about it are being made here in New Zealand.

Internationally (Vox) – Playing hooky to save the climate: why students are going on strike

Thousands of young climate change activists around the world have refused to go to school in recent weeks, and more strikes are planned, including a worldwide strike on March 15.

“We are the voiceless future of humanity,” activists wrote in a letter published Friday by The Guardian. “Now we will make our voices heard. On 15 March, we will protest on every continent.”

To date, students in the United KingdomAustralia, France, Germany, Ireland, Uganda, Thailand, Colombia, Poland, and more have skipped a day of school to demand stronger action on climate change from their governments.

New Zealand (The Spinoff) – School kids are going on strike to fight climate change. How will schools react?

Strikes in more than 20 towns and cities around the country are planned for March 15, a Friday, with the Auckland event scheduled to take place in Aotea Square. While some schools are openly facilitating organisation, some schools are treating the impending strikes as unjustifiable absences, and have cracked down on efforts by students trying to organise.

RNZ: Climate change protest on school day divides MPs

Labour and Green party MPs supporting next week’s school strike for action on climate change are being careful not to encourage students to wag classes to protest.

The protest includes a march on Parliament and it’s clear that Labour and Green MPs are supportive of the strike while National Party MPs said it should not be happening on a school day.

Green Party co-leader and climate change minister James Shaw agreed immediately when asked on TVNZ’s Q and A programme on Monday night if students should leave classes to protest next week.

But he told RNZ today he was not urging children to participate in the event.

“In choosing to take time out in order to do this, these students are placing something at risk. That’s actually the point of a strike, you’re placing something at risk and that is an individual choice that people have to make for themselves.”

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said it was up to schools to decide how to handle the strike.

“I want kids to be learning. If taking part in this action is part of the learning process, then there may be some merit in it. If they’re just taking a day off school then actually they’re just punishing themselves,” Mr Hipkins said.

Other Labour ministers were more supportive.

They are supporting aa protest urging them to do more about climate change.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said climate change was an important issue, but the strike should not have been held on a school day.

He said the protest could have been timed to coincide with the upcoming strike by secondary school teachers on 3 April.

National Party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said government ministers should not be encouraging students to participate.

“I’m a bit concerned that we have got the Minister for Climate Change out there encouraging people to not be at school and that does put parents and principals in a pretty difficult situation,” she said.

Stuff: Students who strike for climate change will be marked as truants, principals say

Schools are threatening to mark students as truants if they strike for climate change, with one principal calling it “wagging” that won’t make a difference.

Thousands of students plan to strike across New Zealand next week as part of a global campaign urging politicians to treat climate change as a crisis, and act now to protect students’ futures from its effects.

Christchurch strike organiser Lucy Gray, 12, said students were striking for their future.

“Teachers, they strike all the time to get what they want and that’s just money. We want our future; I think that should be allowed.”

But Secondary Principals Association president and Pakuranga College principal Michael Williams said students’ impact on climate change would be “probably zero”.

The impact of a day off school on the education of the children is likely to be “probably zero” too.

It’s not just young people rising in protest – Stuff: The planet’s last stand: Why these climate change activists are ready to break the law

In a suit and tie, retired fund manager Charles Drace is not your typical rebel. California-born, he was once a theatre and film actor, with bit parts in the spaghetti Western ‘Once Upon A Time in the West’ and war movie ‘Patton’.

Now, from his neat town house in central Christchurch, the 74-year-old is plotting how to get arrested.

“For years and years now, we’ve been playing nice. And I think one of the things that has been recognised in the last year or so is that it’s not working. We just can’t be nice anymore.”

Drace is a climate activist, a member of the global movement Extinction Rebellion. It began in November, when thousands of protesters paralysed London by disrupting traffic. Since then, it’s caught fire across the globe, with around a million members in 35 countries carrying out acts of civil disobedience.

They’ve glued themselves to buildings and spray painted “frack off” graffiti, closed five major London bridges, swarmed Fashion Week and gone on hunger strike outside Westminster Palace.

In New Zealand, ‘zombies’ have paraded through Wellington airport, held a funeral for Planet Earth in Nelson, and shut off the water supply to Environment Canterbury’s headquarters. Last week, 35 activists banged on the glass windows of BP’s Auckland office, chanting “liar, liar, pants on fire.”

Next month, they’ll join groups across the world in a week of civil disobedience and attention-grabbing stunts.

Will all of these protests be largely like whistling in a hurricane?

Or will the New Zealand government actually take drastic action beyond their rhetoric?

 

 

Mātauranga providing indigenous answers to climate change alongside science

I was somewhat sceptical of this at first, but after reading through I see some merit in working with indigenous people  on climate change, using local knowledge to combat the possible effects of climate change.

It is alarming how narrowly some scientists view world problems like climate change.

Stuff:  Climate change scientists look to Māori and other indigenous people for answers

They are not looking to them for all the answers, but for valuable local knowledge.

In the Māoriland Hub in Ōtaki, north of Wellington, an exhibition details how bad climate change will get for locals in the Kāpiti Horowhenua region, where the frequency of heavy rainfall, flooding, erosion and landslides is already on the rise.

It includes a striking set of maps that draw on Māori knowledge systems of whakapapa (genealogy), hīkoi (walking) and kōrero tuku iho (ancestral knowledge) in combination with scientific data and intuitive design, to show what the local landscape will look like 30 and 100 years from now.

What it could look like in 30 and 100 years. No one knows exactly how landscapes will lok decades or a century ahead.

It’s part of a Massey University project co-led by Professor Huhana Smith (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Raukawa ki Te Tonga) that aims to combine knowledge from Māori researchers, architects, artists and scientists.

Huhana explains that climate change is not being communicated in a way that relates to the Māori communities who are most at risk from its impacts. This has a knock-on effect on national vulnerability, so her project seeks to forge a new way of sharing knowledge about climate change, based on “mātauranga.

Mātauranga is the body of traditional and contemporary knowledge about the world – both physical and spiritual – held by Māori. It is also the process by which information is observed, tested, interpreted, built upon and handed down. It is inseparable from Māori culture, values and beliefs. Māori consider themselves part of nature and within it, and mātauranga reflects this.

It is useful knowledge to have, but not the only knowledge required.

“Māori consider themselves part of nature” – in general perhaps. Some will more than others. And non-Māori as well, especially those who have lived and worked on the land and water through generations.

This knowledge was developed over millennia and brought here hundreds of years ago by Polynesian explorers, with successive generations of Māori continually adding to it. Because it dates so far back, mātauranga can reveal things about Aotearoa – including what its climate was like before Europeans arrived – that science alone cannot.

I think that science will be by far the main source of accurate historical knowledge.

At last year’s Asia-Pacific Climate Change conference in Manila, speakers from Indonesia, Vanuatu, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and the Philippines discussed the merits of coupling data with the kind of knowledge held by indigenous communities to develop policies that are “local to global”.

Around the world, scientists are increasingly looking to work with indigenous communities on climate change initiatives. A large-scale report that sought to quantify the contribution of indigenous forest guardians in 37 tropical countries concluded that the cheapest and most efficient way to protect forests and sequester carbon was to protect or expand the land rights of indigenous people.

Abuse of indigenous land rights of is causing major problems in places like Asia and the Amazon. I think we are largely past this now here in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, Niwa, Lincoln University, Massey University, and Landcare Research have all added mātauranga strands to their work, and the government’s Deep South Challenge, which will allocate more mātauranga funding in July, currently has eight Maori-led projects on the go. Together these represent the largest ever Māori-led research into climate change.

Dr Jane Richardson, Massey University’s Sustainability Project Manager and Research Portfolio Co-ordinator at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, says that mātauranga has broadened her mind. “At first I found this project challenging as I had to learn how to adopt a more unstructured, multidisciplinary way of thinking,” she says.

“As a scientist, I’m trained to think in a very structured, linear way with quite rigid planning and methodology. But the greater fluidity of mātauranga creates space for ideas and answers to emerge.”

Climate scientist Professor Martin Manning at Victoria University recalls the first time he saw the value of having different perspectives, at a meeting for developing a major international scientific report on climate change.

That sounds rather alarming. I would have thought that an essential part of good science was considering different perspectives.

“We had to decide the most important questions to cover,” he says. “Some of us said that it was cloud height changing, others said that the fate of the Amazon forest was critical, and so on. But then a scientist from Vancouver said this was all minor compared to the real question, which was how society responds to major changes. There was a bit of a stunned silence, because most of us had never thought about that before.”

I’m a bit stunned too. Societal effects and responses must be a major factor in addressing climate change.

Climate scientists are turning to indigenous communities, partly because they have often been in the same place for centuries. “Indigenous people who live in really cold places like Alaska are talking about unusual changes in their environment – like how local lakes are thawing out much faster than they used to,” says Dr Pauline Harris (Ngāti Kuhungunu, Rongomaiwahine), a lecturer at Victoria University who chairs the Society of Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART). “When I heard this, I started to wonder whether Māori communities might be seeing similar changes in our environment too.”

Dr Harris and her team of researchers are visiting iwi and hapū throughout the country to capture mātauranga about many different plant and animal activities – such as feeding, reproducing and hibernating – to find out if these are now happening earlier or later than in the past. “We’re asking whānau if they’ve noticed anything changing in places like forests over the last 50 years, capturing this using voice recorders and writing it down,” she says.

That should not be confined to Māori  whanau.

I have noticed local changes over the last 20 years. There will be many gardeners, especially those who have kept diaries, who will have useful knowledge about seasonal changes.

Māori have a deep understanding of what wildlife activities happen when, and how these activities synchronise with the Sun, Moon and stars throughout the year. They have used this knowledge to create the maramataka – the Māori calendar – by which they also plan activities such as planting, hunting and fishing. When the kōwhai blooms, for example, this is a sign for some communities that it’s time to plant the kūmara.

Liliana Clarke (Ngāti Porou, Waikato, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi) is a maramataka specialist at SMART, working on the same project as Harris.

“The maramataka is not just for sustenance but also travelling, cultural activities and rituals, and predicting energy levels for certain activities and species. It’s something that we live our entire lives by,” she says.

Clarke adds that a lot of people are starting to go back to having maramataka-based food gardens, or māra kai, because they want local, sustainable food, which supermarkets aren’t supplying.

There are other people doing this in different ways.

There is potential for mātauranga and science to work together on making larger-scale food production more sustainable, particularly as climate change alters the environment of many crop-growing regions.

Large scale food production is modern and quite different to sustainable farming, but could learn from small scale production experiences.

Dr Apanui Skipper (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Raukawa) and Niwa scientist Darren King (Ngāti Raukawa) have been capturing knowledge from Māori communities about signs in the environment that can be used to make short-term and long-term weather forecasts. Their most recent work is with Ngāi Tahu in the South Island.

“The weather and environment is very different there compared to the Coromandel and Eastern Bay of Plenty where we researched earlier, so it’s important we capture knowledge from that region too,” Skipper says.

Metservice and other weather forecasters have become very good, but you need to apply local knowledge to their big picture forecasts. In Dunedin sou-westerly weather can be fickle, because fronts coming from that direction hit the bottom of the South Island and split around the land mass. Sometimes the weather comes up to coast and blasts Dunedin, sometimes the worst of it is deflected out to sea and swings back in further north. That’s why Canterbury can get heavier snow than coastal Otago.

Metservice is usually very good at predicting temperature changes and the timing of fronts hitting particular locations, but is less accurate about the severity of wind or amount of rain, because this can vary a lot locally.

Māori weather forecasting uses the maramataka and involves paying attention to animal behaviours and plant activities that happen when specific weather patterns, such as heavy rainfall or strong winds, are imminent. It also includes atmospheric indicators – such as the shape of volcanic plumes, cloud formations and Sun or Moon halos – along with specific smells and sounds, such as a particular bird cry.

Skipper explains that Māori weather predictions are, like science, consensus-based – where the more indicators that point to a particular scenario, such as a long hot dry summer, the more confident the prediction and the more prepared communities can be.

While worth considering any types of weather predictions is worth doing some scepticism is still required. ‘Red sky at night/morning’ does have some scientific basis but is not always accurate – it can be a warning but is not a promise (like scientific weather forecasts).

Experts in weather forecasting once could predict flooding months ahead with such accuracy that it makes European meteorology look error-prone. But since Europeans arrived, much of that knowledge has been lost, along with many indicators – such as trees that have been cut down.

I’m very sceptical about “with such accuracy”. They may well have been able to predict increased likelihood of certain weather patterns like heavy rain, but would not have been able to predict specific weather events months in advance.

A problem with verbal knowledge and human memory is that it can be quite selective. It’s quite likely that over say a twenty year period flooding is predicted for five of those years but it only actually floods once – there will always be someone who says ‘I told you that would happen’, but rarely do they say ‘I was wrong again this year’.

Skipper also asked communities whether they had noticed any changes over time and what they thought about climate change.

“Everybody I interviewed agreed without a shadow of a doubt that climate change is definitely here,” he says. “The weather now is different from what their grandparents and great-grandparents had seen. Back then, the extreme weather events were predictable, short and sharp – but now they’re a lot wilder.

It’s easier to remember sharp or extreme weather events. I remember a particularly hot and dry summer in 1972/73 – but I was working outside all summer and remember only having one day off in four months for rain.

It’s normal to forget most weather.

And it’s normal to remember recent ‘wilder weather’ than from long ago.

I’ve noticed fewer and less hard frosts and milder winters over the last few years, which could be a sign of climate change, but have not noticed that the weather is getting ‘wilder’.

Kaumātua told Skipper about seeing baby tītī (muttonbirds) starving because their parents cannot find food in the warmer water. Others pointed out that years ago, it would have been impossible to grow kiwifruit and grapes in Invercargill, yet these fruit are now thriving that far south.

That could be due to better selected sites with favourable microclimates.

We have several grape vines and have struggled to get good grapes, and have struggled with tomatoes, but last year I built a hot house around one grape vine and grow tomatoes in it and they are doing very well. It’s still not good for growing stone fruit where I am – but got four apricots on a stunted tree planted ten years ago. Apples and pears haven’t been great either, but two trees planted in a different place – more sheltered – are doing better.

Climate change is also creating more favourable conditions for the spread of pests and diseases into new areas. Researchers are in a race against time to stop kauri dieback before it completely obliterates our unique kauri forests.

Is that because of climate change, or because of the timing of the introduction of the disease? WHAT IS KAURI DIEBACK DISEASE?Phytophthora agathidicida, the pathogen that causes kauri dieback disease, was only discovered in 2009, and formally named in 2015 (previously it was known as Phytophthora taxon Agathis). It is not certain how long the pathogen has been present in New Zealand. We have records that show it has been in New Zealand since the 1970’s and there is some anecdotal evidence that suggest that the disease has been killing kauri since the 1950s, perhaps a lot longer. There is some research to suggest that it came from overseas (probably somewhere in the Indo-Pacific), however the true origin of the disease remains unknown.”. That is contradictory.

Climate doesn’t create pathogens, but it can make conditions more favourable for them to become established. Modern travel makes it far quicker and easier for pathogens to be moved around the world.

While it seems clear that Pākehā and Māori knowledge can work in synergy to create more effective solutions, organisations first need to learn to value Māori expertise.

It pays – literally – to pay attention to mātauranga. “New Zealand thrives on this clean, green and wholesome image,” Black says, “but in actual fact we’re really not. We’ve got crappy rivers, crappy lakes, and now we’ve got dying forests. You’ve got to ask yourself – what tourist is going to want to see dead forests?”

There is more than climate change involved in this. And effects will vary – some forests may struggle more, some could thrive more with changing temperatures and precipitation.

As much knowledge as possible should be gathered and considered – including mātauranga and other local knowledge.

And it should be remembered that not all local knowledge is of equal accuracy and worth.

 

The past five years have been the warmest on record

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA say that 2018 was 4th hottest year on record for the globe, just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest). A super optimist might claim that there is a slight cooling trend since 2016, but this suggests that predictions of global warming had some credence.

20 of the last 22 years have been the warmest on record.

In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organizationoffsite link also reached the same heat ranking.

And other news recently provide examples of other climate concerns.

Stuff: ‘Dangerous’ Antarctic glacier has massive hole, scientists warn

A large cavity has formed under what has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers, and could contribute to a significant bump in global sea levels, said Nasa scientists.

A study led by the agency revealed a cavity about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and roughly 304 metres tall is growing under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

The cavity is large enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, most of which has melted within the last three years, say researchers.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Thwaites has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers because its demise could lead to rapid changes in global sea levels.

JPL said the glacier, about the size of Florida, holds enough ice to raise ocean levels another 60 centimetres if it completely melts.

It also backstops other glaciers capable to raising sea levels another 2.4m.

Until recently Antarctica was thought to be bucking warming trends, but new research appears to be uncovering more melt than had been realised.

Reuters:  Norway’s Arctic islands at risk of ‘devastating’ warming: report

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Many other parts of the Arctic, especially its islands, are also warming far quicker than the world average as the retreat of snow and sea ice exposes darker water and ground that soaks up ever more of the sun’s heat.

LiveScience: The Greenland Ice Sheet Is Melting at Astonishing Rate

Last week, a cauldron of concerning news articles made two things very clear: The ocean is warming and Antarctica’s ice is melting.

Now, a new study shows how much global warming is pounding another area: Greenland.

Greenland’s ice sheet is not only melting, but it’s melting faster than ever because the area has become more sensitive to natural climate fluctuations, particularly an atmospheric cycle, a group of scientists reported today (Jan. 21) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that the ice is vanishing four times faster than it was in 2003 — and a good chunk of that acceleration is happening in southwest Greenland.

RNZ:  2018 was NZ’s warmest year on record – climate scientist

Veteran climate scientist Jim Salinger has calculated the mean annual land surface temperature in 2018 was 13.5 degrees Celsius, which was 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

This was “a smidgeon” hotter than the previous warmest year on record, 2016, which was 0.84C above normal.

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For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

When climate change predictions go wrong – ocean warming by 40%

Climate change predictions based on science, historical data, and models are always going to be a work in progress on subject to corrections. Some will eventually be found to have overstated possible effects, while it is just as likely that some will be found to have understated effects.

Observations claim that ocean warming has been hapening at a much faster rate than what was predicted in the 2013 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Axious:  Ocean heat is climbing 40% faster than thought

New, independent observations from ocean buoys and other data sources show Earth’s oceans are warming at a rate that’s about 40% faster than indicated in the 2013 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Why it matters: The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, resolves a key uncertainty in climate science by reconciling analyses from a variety of different scientific teams.

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The oceans are absorbing about 93% of the extra heat going into the climate system. So far, most of that heat resides in the upper ocean, and is only slowly diffusing down into deeper waters. Faster warming is already resulting in tangible, harmful impacts, from coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef to rapidly intensifying hurricanes.

  • Scientists describe the ocean as having a “long memory,” meaning that the heat going into the waters now will continue to be released long after humans cut greenhouse gas emissions (assuming we do take that course).

This may be adjusted again more observations are made and as more data is accumulated, but it does suggest real cause for concern.

The rate of change of acceleration of warming could as easily have been predicted too low as too high, but it seems that as the science progresses, the majority of concerns increase.

The study:  How fast are the oceans warming?

Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth’s climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences (1) than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth’s oceans over the past few decades (see the figure) (12). This warming has contributed to increases in rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, and declines in ice sheets; glaciers; and ice caps in the polar regions (34). Recent estimates of observed warming resemble those seen in models, indicating that models reliably project changes in OHC.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), published in 2013 (4), featured five different time series of historical global OHC for the upper 700 m of the ocean.

Since then, the research community has made substantial progress in improving long-term OHC records and has identified several sources of uncertainty in prior measurements and analyses (268).

shii et al. (6) completed a major revision of their estimate in 2017 to account for the previous underestimation and also extended the analysis down to 2000 m and back to 1955.

All four recent studies (261011) show that the rate of ocean warming for the upper 2000 m has accelerated in the decades after 1991 to 0.55 to 0.68 W m−2 (calculations provided in the supplementary materials).

Studies, not models.

The ensemble average of the models has a linear ocean warming trend of 0.39 ± 0.07 W m−2 for the upper 2000 m from 1971–2010 compared with recent observations ranging from 0.36 to 0.39 W m−2.

The relatively short period after the deployment of the Argo network in the early 2000s has resulted in superior observational coverage and reduced uncertainties compared to earlier times. Over this period (2005–2017) for the top 2000 m, the linear warming rate for the ensemble mean of the CMIP5 models is 0.68 ± 0.02 W m−2, whereas observations give rates of 0.54 ± 0.02 (2), 0.64 ± 0.02 (10), and 0.68 ± 0.60 (11) W m−2. These new estimates suggest that models as a whole are reliably projecting OHC changes.

The fairly steady rise in OHC shows that the planet is clearly warming. The prospects for much higher OHC, sea level, and sea-surface temperatures should be of concern given the abundant evidence of effects on storms, hurricanes, and the hydrological cycle, including extreme precipitation events (315). There is a clear need to continue to improve the ocean observation and analysis system to provide better estimates of OHC, because it will enable more refined regional projections of the future. In addition, the need to slow or stop the rates of climate change and prepare for the expected impacts is increasingly evident.

 

2018 was second equal hottest year on record, ‘alarming trend’ – NIWA

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) say that 2018 was the second warmest year on record, and four of the past six years were in the top five warmest.

RNZ:  2018 climate continues ‘alarming trend’ – NIWA

Temperatures in 2018 continued to hit record highs, with scientists calling the year a continuation of an “alarming trend”.

January was a record high, but for the year it wasn’t a record.

The year as a whole was the second-equal warmest on record, along with 1998.

The average temperature was 13.41C, not quite reaching the high set in 2016 with an average of 13.45C.

NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino said four of the past six years were now in the top five of warmest ever recorded, which was extremely concerning.

“[The year of] 2016 was the warmest, 2017 was the 5th warmest. This year equal-second warmest and I think 2015 was the third warmest,” Mr Brandolino said.

“So four out of the past six years we’ve finished top five and unfortunately part of a long-term and alarming trend.”

Mr Brandolino said there were 49 locations which reached record or near record temperatures around the country.

Mr Brandolino said the warm weather was due to three main components – sea surface temperatures, air flow from tropic and sub-tropic areas and an increase in greenhouse gasses.

“The increases in greenhouses that we continue to see is warming in the background,” he said.

“In other words, we are seeing a long-term tailwind of temperatures. Our changing climate is acting as a long-term tailwind for high temperatures.”

@NIWAWeather:

January 2018 was New Zealand’s warmest month on record, recording a remarkable 3.1˚C above average.

The rest of 2018:

  •   6 months saw above average temps.
  •   6 months saw near average temps.
  •   0 months saw below average temps.

♨️ 49 locations observed record or near-record high mean temperatures.

❄️ 0 locations observed record or near-record low mean temperatures.

For minimum temperatures, 2018 was the warmest on record at +0.94˚C above average in New Zealand. Research has shown that historical warming rates have been larger for overnight minimum temperatures compared with daytime maximum temperatures.

This is a bit misleading stating ‘warmest year on record’: