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.

The richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced country in the world

This is likely to be ignored by the doom and gloom merchants.

The London based Legatum Institute has released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index.

From the Independent: The 25 richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced countries in the world

The organisation compared 104 variables to come up with its list. These variables include traditional indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and the number of people in full-time work, but also more interesting figures such as the number of secure internet servers a country has, and how well-rested people feel on a day-to-day basis.

The variables are then split into nine subindexes: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment.

They are listed from 25 to 1 but here are the top 6.

6. Australia — Famous for its laid-back lifestyle and good weather, it is no wonder Australia came second overall in the social capital sub-index, helping it climb one place overall from 7th in 2015.

5. Canada — America’s neighbour to the north is substantially more prosperous according to the Legatum Institute, finishing 3rd for social capital and business environment, and 2nd for personal freedom.

4. Switzerland — Switzerland frequently features at the top of lists like the Prosperity Index, thanks to fantastic education (1st overall), and great healthcare. It was 3rd in the health sub-index.

3. Finland — Finns may not class themselves as Scandinavian, but they can’t deny being a seriously prosperous northern European state. Finland has the best governance in the world, according to the Legatum Institute.

2. Norway — For seven consecutive years Norway had been ranked as the most prosperous country on earth by the Legatum Institute, but this year it loses its crown, with a highest ranking of 3rd in the governance sub-index.

1. New Zealand — Officially the most prosperous country on earth, according to the Legatum Institute, New Zealand ranked top of both the social capital and economic quality sub-indexes, and 2nd for business environment and governance.

We face some difficult issues and problems, and some people have it tough, but relative to the rest of the world, and regardless of Legatum’s ranking, New Zealand is a pretty damn good country to live in.

US ‘flawed democracy’

The Economist Intelligence Unit has finally acknowledged that the US has a flawed democracy.

Declining trust in government is denting democracy

AMERICA, which has long defined itself as a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a “flawed democracy” according to the taxonomy used in the annual Democracy Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company. Although its score did not fall by much—from 8.05 in 2015 to 7.98 in 2016—it was enough for it to slip just below the 8.00 threshold for a “full democracy”.

The downgrade was not a consequence of Donald Trump, states the report. Rather, it was caused by the same factors that led Mr Trump to the White House: a continued erosion of trust in government and elected officials, which the index measures using data from global surveys.

Trump’s presidency is a consequence of their flawed democracy, not a cause.

It joins France, Greece and Japan in the second-highest tier of the index.

democracyindex

USA was already near the flawed threshold before slipping under it:

  • 2006 – 8.22
  • 2008 – 8.22
  • 2010- 8.18
  • 2011 – 8.11
  • 2012 – 8.11
  • 2013 – 8.11
  • 2014 – 8.11
  • 2015 – 8.05
  • 2016 – 7.98

Top of the ‘full democracy scale’:

  • Norway – 9.93
  • Iceland – 9.50
  • Sweden – 9.39
  • New Zealand – 9.26
  • Canada and Ireland – 9.15
  • Australia has slipped a bit to 9.01

All democracies are flawed, but they are less flawed than the alternatives.

Electric vehicle advantage

Not surprisingly the Greens want a large increase in the use of electric vehicles in New Zealand.

In NZ only 1/4 of 1% of new vehicle sales are electric. Compared to around 10% in some European countries such as Norway.

“Such as Norway” is a bit selective, Norway has the largest per capita fleet of plug in electric vehicles in the world (although electric vehicles are still only at 3% of total vehicles).

Why so many comparatively in Norway? Financial incentives.

From Electric Car Sales Surge In Norway During 2015:

There’s no mystery why electric cars are so popular in Norway. To paraphrase an old saying, “It’s the incentives, stupid!”

Norway exempts most plug-in hybrid and electric cars from sales tax and registration fees. That makes them price competitive with conventional cars. It also gives EV drivers access to commuter lanes, free parking in most cites, and exempts them from most ferry and bridge tolls.

Incentives make a huge difference. In  Sweden, which shares the same peninsular with Norway, the government is much less interested in promoting electric cars. As a result, sales of plug-ins and electric cars in Sweden are a small fraction of what they are in Norway.

 So Norway isn’t a representative example of European countries, it’s an extreme example.

More detail from Wikipedia:

Among the existing incentives, all-electric cars and utility vans are exempt in Norway from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes, which are extremely high for ordinary cars, and 25% VAT on purchase, together making electric car purchase price competitive with conventional cars.

Electric vehicles are also exempt from the annual road tax, all public parking fees, and toll payments, as well as being able to use bus lanes. These incentives are in effect until the end of 2017 or until the 50,000 EV target is achieved.

That still isn’t a high proportion of vehicles.

Oldest known living tree

The oldest living tree (sort of), a spruce called “Old Tjikko”,  has been identified in Norway.

The lifespan of the trunk of Norwegian spruces is only about 600 years but they can regrow from the roots. The root system of this tree has been carbon dated at about 9,500 years.

NorwaySpruce

From a 2008 National Geographic article Oldest Living Tree Found in Sweden:

The world’s oldest known living tree, a conifer that first took root at the end of the last Ice Age, has been discovered in Sweden, researchers say.

The visible portion of the 13-foot-tall (4-meter-tall) “Christmas tree” isn’t ancient, but its root system has been growing for 9,550 years, according to a team led by Leif Kullman, professor at Umeå University’s department of ecology and environmental science in Sweden.

The tree’s incredible longevity is largely due to its ability to clone itself, Kullman said.

The spruce’s stems or trunks have a lifespan of around 600 years, “but as soon as a stem dies, a new one emerges from the same root stock,” Kullman explained. “So the tree has a very long life expectancy.”

Trees that are thousands of years old are also found elsewhere:

The study team also identified other ancient spruces in Sweden that were between 5,000 and 6,000 years old.

Bristlecone pines in the western United States are generally recognized as the world’s oldest continuously standing trees.

The most ancient recorded, from California‘s White Mountains, is dated to around 5,000 years ago.

Other tree clones may have an even more ancient lineage than the Swedish spruces, he added.

Research suggests that stands of Huon pines on the Australian island of Tasmania possibly date back more than 10,000 years.

Bristlecones are the oldest known individual trees:

A new record holder was recently recognized, a Pinus longaeva growing in the White Mountains of eastern California. The date on this tree was reported to me by Tom Harlan. Tom worked up the core only recently, and knows which tree it is. The tree is still alive, and the age given below, 5062, is the tree’s age as of the growing season of 2012.

http://www.rmtrr.org/oldlist.htm

Prometheus Wheeler.jpg

 Great Basin Bristlecone Pine grove

The Oldlist includes many trees from around the world but doesn’t include any kauri. Tāne Mahuta is estimated to be 1,250 to 2,500 years old.

h11

If Tāne Mahuta is anywhere in that age range it is close to or more than twice as old as human habitation in New Zealand (700-800 years).

 

Crusader cowards

The Norway mass murders were acts of extreme cowardice, the bombing and killing of  innocent people, and particularly despicable was the  methodical killing of unarmed, defenseless  young people with no easy way of escaping their brutal execution. That’s about as despicable and gutless as you can get.

One apparent aim was to become a hero of the extreme right and a catalyst for cataclysm.

The Norwegian murderer has support on this side of the world. It’s not surprising,  small groups have been posting online of the hope for something like this to happen  – like minded people online may well have encouraged what happened in Norway –  and the mass killing  seems to meet with their approval. They are openly hopeful it is the beginning of the mass uprising they have been wishing for.

 The End is Nigh!
Nemesis:
The time for talking and making friendly peace gestures is finished! Let the start of the ending begin!

It won’t happen.

Most of these gutless cretins  try to post up mayhem in the hope that someone else will do their dirty work for them – that’s why they applaud what happened in Norway.

They want mass murder in New Zealand – of anyone they oppose. They are so extreme they label almost everyone else as socialist enemies. But these are people that are almost universally rejected as too nuts and too extreme, even from places like Kiwiblog. They wouldn’t get the numbers to put together a lifestyle block flock of sheep.

There has been argument about how Christian the Norwegian killer was. What seems clear is he was strongly anti Islam, and strongly anti anyone deemed to be socialist, which in warped minds like his means anyone they don’t like.

That anti-ness is shared by the cluster of cowards in New Zealand (and posting from Australia trying to stir things up here). With some at least their own religious claims appear to be stronger,  they fool themselves they are  Christian – but they display hate and intolerance completely at odds with the concept of Christ. Herodic hypocrites.

Extracts from recent Crusader Rabbit posts are below. I’m going to post there expressing my disgust at their aims of mayhem and murder in New Zealand. They will censor and delete the posts, but the more people that stand up and make opposition to their hate for and opposition to  our democratic way of life known the more they will get the message they have no wider support.

The End is Nigh!

Kris K:
Rather than the pot slowing coming to the boil, and all the ‘frogs’ simply thinking they’re in a nice warm spa, by turning up the heat from luke-warm instantaneously to 100°C perhaps some of the ‘frogs’ will jump out, realising they’re being cooked alive, and will scream blue-bloody-murder to all the other dumbass ‘frogs’ about their common predicament, some of whom may consequently turn on those applying the heat.

There appears to be definite method to his [Breivik] “sanity” …

Katie:
What we have witnessed is the first round in a war to rid Europe of the colonizers, elitists and nannies.

Nemesis:
Obviously Katie, you get the message!

WAKE UP:
Brievik’s action is but a small, overdue response to the cultural murder that has been done daily by Western Leftists for decades now. It won’t be the last.

Oswald Bastable:
One can start to sympathize with shooting snot-nosed loud-mouthed socialist oiks…

KG:
One can.

Nemesis:
Some were kids, most were adults hmm.  If given the opportunity would you take a trip back down the time tunnel to kill Hitler, Stalin, Himmler, Ribbentropp, Hess, Bormann, Trotsky, Lenin or Marx when it would be easy, like when they were kids or young adults?

The Delusional Left and the Norway Massacre

Nemesiss:
As you say Kris, once you lose sight of God’s love than anything becomes possible and the more distance one stays from the light the darker the thought and the deeds become.

Kris K:
Spot on, Keith – and perhaps suitable motivation for someone who was aware of the above truths to take radical actions like we’ve just seen occur in Norway.

From Seneca, a guest post:

WAKE UP:
– so, I also repeat: there is no vitriol dark enough for these quislings and traitors; they have pushed us to where a bullet is now thw answer. Enter Brievik. He won’t be the last.

Kris K:
I agree, Seneca – it is more a case of the “middle class” who are either blind to, or refuse to acknowledge the evil agenda of the Socialist ‘elite’. These, in the main, are the real useful idiots, rather than your average “blue collar” worker.

When the uprising occurs it will consist primarily of blue collar workers and those others who have their eyes open to the truth.

KG:
Yes indeed. And the middle classes will look on in horror and disapproval while others do the fighting for them.

Our political and social revile

The horrible acts of terrorism in Norway have stirred up political emotions in New Zealand. That has highlighted some things that are common here, especially noticeable on blogs – the degree of violence and vitriol in posts and comments. Norway was an extreme example, but the political discourse in New Zealand is often terrible.

Extreme blogs and extreme comments on blogs are far more prevalent in right wing forums, there’s no doubt about that. This includes proposals of violence, some of it extreme violence, and also abusive and intimidating language. When it occurs it should be confronted and questioned – this is not trying to shut down free speech as some people claim, those who confront violence speech have as much right to speak as the abusers.

Violent speech is one symptom of our often abrasive and divisive political landscape, where the normal reaction is far too often to oppose, shout down  and to try and marginalise any comments deemed to be critical or at odds with one’s own ideology.

The left don’t use obvious violence anywhere near as much – but they can be just as divisive and antagonistic in their own more subtle ways. They are fooling themselves if they think it is a right wing problem – one of the left’s biggest faults is to blame everything on the right and to deny their own faults.

Blaming “the right” for political violence is as bad as blaming “the Muslims” for world terrorism. Blanket smears will do nothing to resolve problems, it’s lazy politics at best, and often deliberately provocative.

Violence in politics is part of our far too violent society in New Zealand. And violence is not a right wing problem.

Maori are over represented in our violence statistics. Maori are not considered to be “right wing”.

Violence is prevalent on TV and movies. The media and Hollywood are not considered to be “right wing”.

Most violence is not political, it’s just bad behaviour from people who don’t know how to resolve problems and frustrations any other way – and despite the Hollywood message violence is most often a very poor way of resolving anything.

Violent, antagonistic, inflammatory, divisive  speech and behaviour is prevalent across the political spectrum in New Zealand. If we learnt to behave better towards each other then we are more likely to work better with each other to make New Zealand a better and less violent place to live.

Rather than revile we should learn to reconcile. We are much more alike than different, we should act that way.