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.

 

 

Jacinda Ardern on ‘Redefining successful government”

In a speech while in New York Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what she sees as successful government, as in her lofty agenda.

Redefining successful government

Speech at International Conference on Sustainable Development

I began preparing my comments for today’s event while sitting at my constituency office in Auckland, New Zealand…

You could say the artefacts I sit amongst in that office sum up my life in politics.  It started with my family, has been full of role models and support, but ultimately is motivated by the idea that politics is a place you can address injustice.

I was raised the daughter of a policeman, and was a product of the 1980s where New Zealand went through a rapid period or privatisation and economic liberalisation. We called it Rogernomics after our Finance Minister of the time, in America the same phenomenon was called Reaganonmics, and the impact on working families was similar. Jobs were lost, manufacturing moved off shore, regulations removed and the gap between rich and poor rapidly expanded.

Then came the 1990s. A conservative government in New Zealand introduced reforms that brought user pay to the fore and welfare cuts for the poorest.

I was young when all of this was happening around me, but I still remember it. If it’s possible to build your social conscience when you are a school girl, then that is what happened to me. I never looked at the world through the lens of politics though, but rather through the lens of fairness.

And that sentiment captures one of the most pervasive values that we have in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are proud but also self-deprecating. Dreamers but also pragmatists. And if there is one thing we hate, it is injustice.

These are the values I believe we need to display in our politics. Because politics is increasingly a dirty word, but values are not.

An earnest politician would be hard pressed to argue with goals like halving poverty, preserving the sustainability of our oceans or inclusive education.

And we’ve started by redefining what success looks like.

Traditionally, success or failure in politics has been measured in purely economic terms. Growth, GDP, your trade deficit and the level of debt you carry. On those terms, you would call New Zealand relatively successful. But in the last few years the deficiency of such measures has become stark.

So we are establishing brand new measure of national achievement that go beyond growth.

Like many, New Zealand has not been immune to a period of rapid and transformational change these past few decades. Globalisation has changed the way we operate, but it has also had a material difference on the lives of our citizens.

Not everyone has been well served by those changes, however.

While at a global level economic growth has been unprecedented, the distribution of benefits has been uneven at the level of individuals and communities. In fact for many, the transition our economy made in the wake of globalisation has been jarring,

Now as politicians, we all have choices in how we respond to these challenges.

We’re investing more in research and development so that we improve the productivity of our economy, we’re focusing on shifting away from volume to value in our export, and we are committed to lifting wages.

We are modernising our Reserve Bank so that it works to keep both inflation and keeps unemployment low, and we’re committed to a better balanced and fairer tax system.

But we also need to do better at lifting the incomes of New Zealanders and sharing the gains of economic growth.

We are signing pay equity settlements with new groups of predominantly women workers, taking the pressure off families by extending paid parental leave to half a year, closing the gender pay gap and raising the minimum wage.

When fully rolled out our Families Package – a tax credit policy aimed at low and middle income earners – will lift thousands of children out of poverty.

But economic gains and growth matter for nothing if we sacrifice our environment along the way, or if we fail to prepare for the future. That’s why we are transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand.

But of course, we are nothing without our people. We have set ourselves some big goals, like ensuring that everyone who is able is either earning, learning, caring or volunteering – including making the first year of tertiary study completely free of fees.

We’re supporting healthier, safer and more connected communities, ensuring everyone has a warm, dry home, and last but not least, making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

This agenda is personal to me.

I am the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.

If I were to sum up our agenda though, it would be simple. I want to demonstrate that politics doesn’t have to be about three or four year cycles. It doesn’t have to be self-interested or have a singular focus.

It can think about long term challenges, and respond to them. It can be designed to think about the impact on others, and show that it’s making a difference. And it can even be kind.

As an international community I am constantly heartened by our ability to take a multilateral approach, to sign up to a set of aspirations that are values based.

But perhaps it’s time to also challenge ourselves to move beyond aspiration to action.

That is what we will be doing in our corner of the world.

And I can assure you we will never, never, never give up.

Highly idealistic. It will be good if some of this can be achieved reasonably well over time.

This is in stark contrast to the succession of problems of competence the government is having to deal with back here while she is away in New York – the realities of politics can be quite different to the lofty speech written rhetoric.

Ardern has already stumbled on her ideal of ‘open transparent government’, this has blown up further in her absence this week.

She has admirable goals, and is adept at talking the talk, but the challenge for her and her government will be walking the walk. They seem to be stumbling somewhat more than she cares to admit.

It will take time to see whether New Zealand will improve noticeably under Ardern’s leadership. If things like inequality, child poverty and climate change are substantially improved she will have done very well, but it will take much more than successful speeches on the world stage.

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/

Changing the conversation on climate change to reflect women’s perspectives

A curious comment from Climate Change Minister James Shaw:

NZ climate change ambassador Jo Tyndall & I got the chance to talk with fmr Irish President Mary Robinson & a room full of inspiring women about changing the conversation on climate change to reflect women’s perspectives.

Hard to guess how that might work, or work out.

But one thing I think is certain – women’s perspectives on climate change are going to be as diverse as men’s perspectives. It is not an us versus them sort of issue, and I don’t think it should be played that way.

I have just asked one woman what her perspective and it’s actually quite similar to mine.

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

 

Climate change and mental health

Climate change debates seem to threaten mental health at times, but this is a different angle, on the effects of extreme weather events related to climate change on mental health.

Ronald Fischer, from the School of Psychology at Victoria University (I think it’s still called that) has given a lecture on this.

Newsroom: What climate change could do to mental health

Heatwaves and other extreme weather events caused by climate change could have profound implications for personality traits and mental health, Ronald Fischer warned in his inaugural public lecture as a Professor of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington.

Referencing an article published earlier this year in Scientific Reports, an online journal from the publisher of Nature, Fischer spoke about research showing that people with the same genetic make-up might have very different personalities depending on the climate where they live.

The article, based on research by Fischer, Victoria University of Wellington Master’s student Anna Lee and Dr Machteld Verzijden from Aarhus University in Denmark, says the impact on personality of genes regulating dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain, is most pronounced in climatically stressful environments.

“If you are in a challenging climate and your genetic system is not as efficient in processing rewards or regulating potential challenges, then you might feel more stressed and more likely to be unwell,” said Fischer in his lecture.

“On the other hand, if you have a system that is not so well off but you live in an environment where life is very chilled out, there’s no challenge, so basically there shouldn’t be a strong effect on how you feel.”

He warned: “If you have followed the news – for example the incredible heatwaves in Europe – what kind of challenges will we see in the near future when climate becomes more extreme and we have to create more mental health services for people who might need that?”

An interesting question.

If we have more and worse ‘extreme weather events’ people will get more stressed, during those events and for some people adversely effected by things like flood and wind damage, those stresses can have longer effects.

On the other hand there is also the potential for less stress.

Driving on frosty streets, especially when trying to get to work at the time on a winter morning when frosts can be at their worst, can be quite stressful, as can the occasional snowstorm. We have had five consecutive unusually non-severe winters in Dunedin, and very few frost stress mornings.

People could also stress unnecessarily over possible future problems that don’t eventuate.

Or if are not suitably prepared and we get unexpected weather severity it could raise stress levels.

Then there’s the stress of getting your next house insurance bill that has escalated due to perceived climate change risks.

Sit comfortably, breathe gently, then debate.

Zero-carbon – as much pie in the sky as CO2 in the sky

Greens have long been big on ideal but absent on credible costings for their policies. Until now they have not had to actually cost and budget for policies. Now they are in Government the cost of their primary policy, net carbon zero by 2050, gets important.

But does anyone have any idea what it will cost?

Some called (Stuff September 2017): What a zero carbon act means for New Zealand

HOW MUCH MIGHT IT COST?

The effects of runaway climate change will damage our economy much more than taking steps to reduce emissions. By joining the Paris Agreement, we’ve already committed to being part of the global transition to net zero emissions.

The zero carbon act will require the Government to set out a fair, sustainable and cost-efficient pathway for New Zealand to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. What will really cost is delay – delay in reducing our emissions, and in dealing with impacts of climate change that are already on our doorstep.

The longer we continue on our current path of emission growth, the more we lock in bad investments that will become stranded assets tomorrow. A smooth, well-managed transition is in New Zealand’s best interests – otherwise we’ll be forced to make a costly and abrupt transition later.

Insurers and local councils are also ringing the alarm bells that we need to get serious about adapting to climate impacts like sea level rise now. The longer we wait, the more risk and the more cost we are creating for ourselves.

That is alarmingly vague. There is no attempt whatsoever to cost the policy.

The author Leith Huffadine  reveals in the article: . “We [Generation Zero]…”. Greens credited Generation Zero for the formation of the policy.

The Spinoff (May 2018):  NZ has pledged zero carbon by 2050. How on earth can we get there?

The word ‘cost’ appears just twice in that.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) lithium-ion battery price index shows a fall from US$1,000 per kWh in 2010 to US$209 per kWh in 2017. This fantastic cost decline is a cause for celebration.

And:

Solar and wind offer a comparatively low-cost pathway to reduce emissions in most countries that currently have a high share of coal and gas-fired generation, but how we plug the gap between 95% and 100% in New Zealand isn’t obvious yet.

that was written by Briony Bennett: B.A. Political Studies, B.Sc. Physics, Mathematics, member of the Green Party, “I am for energy that is safer, cheaper and greener.”

What also isn’t obvious to me is how much extra electricity generation we will need if all our cars, trains, buses and trucks are run by battery (which need electricity to charge them). Important things like this don’t seem to have been quantified, or even estimated.

Earlier this month – Zero carbon: Policy meets science

For example, economics.

If “no further climate action is taken”, the per household national income will increase by about 55 per cent by 2050, models show.

No indication of what models show this.

If the the bill passes as roughly signalled, per household national income will increase by about 40 per cent, the same models show.

That’s a significant loss of economic activity and many have pointed out that New Zealand’s contribution to greenhouse gases is less than 2 per cent of global emissions.

Far less than 2% (actually less than 0.2%) according to New Zealand’s Environmental Indicators:

China produced 26 percent of global GHG (green house gas) emissions, nearly twice as much as the next- highest producer, the United States. New Zealand contributed 0.17 percent.

Today at Stuff: Zero-carbon economy may not be worth the cost

Before we decide if a zero-carbon economy by 2050 is worth the cost, we must know what the damage to our economy from global warming will be if we do nothing. Only then will we know how important and urgent action on global warming really is.

Estimates of the cost of global warming as a percentage of GDP to New Zealand are elusive. I drew a nil response when I asked for that information from James Shaw, the Minister for Climate Change, and from the Ministry for the Environment. Both said such an estimate was too hard to calculate.

Too hard to calculate?

Fortunately, the OECD rose to the challenge in its 2015 report on The Economic Consequences of Climate Change. The OECD estimated the cost of global warming to New Zealand and Australia between now and 2060 was a reduction of 0.9 per cent in their GDPs.

No details on that. And that doesn’t look at the cost of doing what will be required to get to zero-carbon by 2050.

James Shaw must come clean

It is time for the Government to fund an estimate of the cost of global warming to New Zealand.

Author Jim Rose (‘an economic consultant in Wellington) seems fairly negative about doing anything at all, but it’s more than fair to ask what it all could cost. there’s a lot of variables and unknowns, but surely there should be some estimates.

There are certainly risks of not doing anything, and also risks of spending a lot of money trying to do something.

I find the lack of information about possible costs quite alarming.

 

Contrasting climate change claims

Two very contrasting articles via real Politics on climate change – one claiming “No ice has been lost by Greenland…” and the other “the Greenland ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in at least 400 years”.

Conrad Black at National Post – Thirty years of climate hysterics being proven wrong over and over again

It is 30 years this past week that Dr. James Hansen, then well into the first of more than three decades as head of the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified to a U.S. Senate committee that the then-current heat wave in Washington was caused by the relationship between “the greenhouse effect and observed warming.” This was the starting gun of a mighty debate about the existence, cause and consequences of global warming.

In his testimony, Hansen described three possible courses for the world’s climate, depending on public policy.

It is the third result that has occurred: unchanged world temperatures since 2000, apart from 2015-2016; then the temperature rose slightly after a heavy El Nino, and then receded again although world carbon emissions have increased moderately.

He gives no evidence of that claim. I’m sure someone else somewhere is saying something similar, but this is from NASA (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) in Global Temperature:

Parallel predictions were made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which forecast temperature increases twice as great as occurred in the period up to 2000, with accelerating increases in the years since, when the temperature has been flat (with the exception of the one year mentioned). Hansen also predicted exceptional warming in the Southeast and Midwest of the United States, which has not occurred either. As his predictions were battered and defied by the facts,

Hansen reinforced his expressions of ecological gloom and in 2007 predicted that all Greenland’s ice would melt and that ocean levels would rise by seven metres within 100 years.

I can’t find evidence of those claims by Hansen. In Scientific reticence and sea level rise (2007) heb talks only of estimates of possible scenarios based on the known science in 2007. he does say “The nonlinearity of the ice sheet problem makes it impossible to accurately predict the sea level change on a specific date. However, as a physicist, I find it almost
inconceivable that BAU climate change would not yield a sea level change of the order of meters on the century timescale”.

Black:

We have only had 11 years, but no ice has been lost by Greenland, other than what melts every summer and then forms again, and water levels have not moved appreciably.

In contrast from Scientific American: Greenland Is Melting Faster Than at Any Time in the Last 400 Years

study published this week in Geophysical Research Letters finds that melt rates in western Greenland have been accelerating for the last few decades. Melting is now nearly double what it was at the end of the 19th century, the research suggests. And the scientists say a significant increase in summertime temperatures—to the tune of about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the 1870s—is mainly to blame.

Future warming may only continue to enhance the melting, the researchers warn—a major concern when it comes to future sea-level rise.

The researchers used models informed with historical climate data to investigate some of the climatic factors influencing melt rates from one year to the next over the last century. Fluctuations in ocean temperatures and certain atmospheric circulation patterns were shown to have a major influence on year-to-year variations in melt rates since the 1870s.

That’s important to note, because these oceanic and atmospheric patterns may change under the influence of future climate change. Scientists are still debating how they may be affected, but the new findings suggest that a better understanding will be critical to making accurate short-term predictions about melting and sea-level rise.

The need for ongoing scientific research is obviously important. And most of the current science (as opposed to opinion of people like Black) suggests a growing problem with the effects of climate change. The biggest uncertainty is by how much and over what time period.

I got sidetracked addressing some of Black’s claims. The second article from RealClear: Clmate Change Is Our Most Critical National-Security Challenge

Progressive American politicians must embrace the necessity of dramatic action on climate change as a touchstone. So far, Senator Bernie Sanders has done it the most persuasively, campaigning on addressing climate change, health care, racial justice, and economic inequality as his unvaried quartet of issues, invoked in every speech and backed up with serious legislation that shows a willingness to move with real speed. Other party leaders will back him on one bill or another, and scientists and engineers are now runningfor office.

Seriousness on climate change needs to be a qualification, not an afterthought, for anyone who wants to run for president. Because it’s not an environmental issue; it’s the most crucial security question that humans have ever faced.

There’s a major problem with this – Sanders didn’t even make the presidential election, Trump won and is taking the US into the climate change dark ages, and progressive politics in the US is in disarray.