Climate action

With three decades wasted, everything now has to be about climate

ipcc-understates-threat understatement

Bulletins proclaiming that the ipcc 1.5° report understates climate threat are literally understatements of epochal proportions. Self-reinforcing climate feedbacks already irreversibly underway signal civilization’s ever-growing greenhouse gas…

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On the ephemerality of beaches

Relying on economics to salvage a survivable climate is the 21st century equivalent of a standing down an army and leaving defence of the realm to wizardry. With the United States Senate summarily scuttling the Green New Deal, it might seem…

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Near-certainty of 66-metre sea-level rise

Permanent ice sheets are a misnomer. Ages involving alternating glacial and interglacial periods are ephemeral, occupying only a small percentage of geological time. Humankind’s greatest—although certainly not in any laudatory…

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Wasting storms of the grandparents

When Dr James Hansen published Storms of My Grandchildren nine years ago this December, he lambasted governments for greenwashing while doing nothing meaningful to curtail fossil-fuel use. But despite, by that time, having already seen his…

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With every fibre and electrified-transit solution

Aucklanders once took an average of more than 400 public-transport trips per year. In 1945, with a sixth of the population, Aucklanders were taking nearly 120 million trips, compared to today’s paltry 90 million boardings. Not that all Aucklanders should be…

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Future Mahurangi transport network feedback

Mahurangi Action’s feedback pro forma on Warkworth’s future transport network is good to go. Members, and readers generally, are warmly encouraged to use the pro forma as-is or as a starting point for their own feedback, and to put their oars in…

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This might have been one more for the roads

September’s town-hall talk is now cancelled, and possibly the balance of this year’s. The September slot was pencilled in for the topic of paedophilia awareness—apparently paedophile networks operate locally—but no subsequent response was…

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One billion trees and bugger the science

In 2004, $3 million over 5 years sounded like all Mahurangi’s Christmases had come at once. But a back-of-a-seed-packet calculation strongly suggested that the $3 million the former Auckland Regional Council had budgeted would barely…

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Faith in the 1% and fighting the 80

Photovoltaics have a huge future and have grown enormously, to about 1% of global energy use. Banking heavily upon it, Germany has plunged it’s poor into energy poverty, by shuttering nuclear, not because of the risk or impact on health, but to pander…

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Forlorn futility of faith-based climate action

One person’s demagogue is another person’s saviour, and, for many, the Elon Musk credibility needle will have finally flicked from where it has been firmly stuck on f, to e. For most students, in this age of social-media-supercharged celebrity, learning…

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Proposed zero-carbon bill submission

Comment on the proposed zero-carbon bill closes at 5 pm on 19 July. The following pro forma is provided by the Mahurangi Magazine in the earnest hope that the resultant legislation is exponentially more substantive than a zero-carbon-by-2050-target…

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Proposed carbon bill zero-action

Generation Zero is ecstatic. But over a proposed zero-carbon bill that clings cravenly to the ineffectual, at best, emissions-trading-scheme approach. To be fair, Generation Zero’s enthusiasm is primarily for having succeeded in selling, to the new…

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stv supercity shake-up, then Wellington

Mayor Goff was elected by barely 18% of registered voters. Len Brown at least, won 47.8% of votes cast, but only because voters were then still in the dark about his grubby use of Auckland Council property. But the bigger crime of both men, and of the Royal…

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Visiting Aotearoa for all the right reasons

Neither of New Zealand’s two main industries is currently sustainable. Its once-vaunted agricultural industry, a proud part of the green revolution, is now a climate delinquent, due to the white gold-rush. Tourism, which continues to outdistance dairy as…

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Unequivocally claiming climate

His frustration was palpable. Following his party’s first electoral foray, when more than 98% of the populace proved to be impervious, the Rodney candidate declared: “What we need is a decent nuclear accident, then they’ll vote Values.” Sadly, the statement…

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Reimagining the roads of Mahurangi

Roads, historically, were not about cars. They were not even about private vehicles, until the last 100 of human civilisation’s 5500-year existence. So perhaps the Labour Party’s pandering to Penlink is understandable, as it seeks to wrest more of the...

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Climate-reaction rubber meets the road

New Zealanders have just demonstrated the perfect problem, perfectly. After three decades of denial and procrastination, including nine years of Clark-led Labour government inaction, Jacinda Ardern has announced transport policy timidly…

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Odds against tomorrow without ultimate sacrifice

As if its bureaucrats needed any encouragement. Trump’s America now has its Environmental Protection Authority peddling the equivalent of Lisa Simpson’s Ignorital©. The agency requires its officials to lace their public utterances with phrases contrived to…

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Triggering automatic change to green

Most Warkworthians are unhappy that their town is now a satellite growth centre. Had a concerted campaign been waged against it, and unlimited funds spent fighting it, Auckland Council may have been forced to rethink. But that would not have…

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Tidal-river power and grid electricity

Most public transport in Aotearoa is fossil-fuel powered. But that would not excuse the key component of the Mahurangi Coastal Trail, the ferry, being fossil-fuelled. Fortuitously, as described in Minimum Impact 100% River-Powered, a fossil-fuel-free…

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Democratise coalitions and lists now

Half voted for change, and half for the status quo. The 44.4% who voted for the New Zealand National Party, and the 0.5% who voted for what remains of ex-Labour-finance-minister Roger Douglas’ rebel act party, are now represented by 57 opposition…

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Mahu youth has National munted

If the local Kids Voting result is any indication, New Zealand’s youthquake is going to visit most damage on National. Mahurangi College students, their Kids Voting coordinator has reported, gave the Labour Party a clear majority: 35% versus the National…

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Jacindaquake and Kids Voting curtain-raiser

There’s no reason to imagine Aotearoa will be spared its youthquake. In the United Kingdom, it was a 68-year-old Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who triggered the tremor. The quake unleashed by the youth-adjacent Jacinda Ardern, who has just rocked…

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Courage for more than a cuppa

It’s 30 years since David Lange belatedly called taihoa. His Labour Party caucus cohorts had unleashed the neoliberal onslaught that, amongst other tragedies, precipitated New Zealand’s ongoing youth suicide epidemic. Throughout the…

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Last call for climate action commission

Dr Jan Wright’s last report is also her least likely to ruffle feathers. Until now, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s refreshingly evidence-based reports have probably unsettled more Green Party supporters than the balance of…

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Paris climate accord not the half of it

Not all agree it’s a bad thing Trump’s made good on his campaign promise to pull the United States out of Paris. One climate researcher argues that the Trump circus could do less damage outside of the tent, than in it. But regardless, a bad-tempered…

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Loyal opposition reaches oblivious conclusion

It was a stroke of unintended brilliance, which has blighted democracy ever since. When John Cam Hobhouse coined the term loyal opposition, in jest, he could’ve had no inkling he would help dignify 190 years of two-party parliaments, where…

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If it’s democracy that’s broke, fix it

From Day One he’s wanted a better slogan than ‘the World’s most liveable city.’ For his trouble, and even before hearing what that slogan might be, Mayor Phil Goff is being rubbished and ridiculed for wanting to replace the city’s tragically generic branding, with…

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Make Aotearoa egalitarian and great again

His timing is impeccable, and his mission merciful. Immediately mocked by the mainstream media, Gareth Morgan’s launch of a party dedicated to eliminating poverty and closing the inequality gap is a cause worthy of wholehearted support, even by…

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How Savage would have salvaged a survivable climate

There is an alternative to you-first-no-you-first. Aotearoa, like pretty much every other country, is fearful of getting too far ahead of the pack in respect to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the fear, paranoia even, is of becoming…

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Mainstream ignores novel approach to climate action

Story-telling goes back at least as far as the 200 000-year-old species itself. Yet humanity’s biggest story ever, how Homo sapiens sapiens learned how to exploit fossil fuels, and thus placed itself on the one guaranteed path to extinction, is neither a major…

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Zero-carbon energy ultimate nuclear waste solution

In the last 6 years and 8 weeks of published measurements, global sea level has risen a whisker more than an inch. At least that is the raw, seasonally adjusted data from the incredible, and credible, Jason 2 satellite, however, the El Niño…

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Nation with least need for nuclear has most to gain

Even the pro-nuclear-power Dr James Hansen doubts Aotearoa needs it: “You happen to be very fortunate and be very wealthy in terms of renewable energy.” But New Zealanders’ future prospects now directly depend upon an unprecedented international…

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Best understood by least represented

The cohort that best understands the enormity of anthropogenic global warming is that which is least represented in Parliament. It is also the age-group that is least enrolled, and votes least. But given the great gulf between the awful reality of…

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Short open letter to environmentalists

As conservation scientists concerned with global depletion of biodiversity and the degradation of the human life-support system this entails, we, the co-signed, support the broad conclusions drawn in the article Key Role for Nuclear Energy in Global Biodiversity

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Breakfast brainstorming on the next bit

What John Clarke said of the neoliberal de-democratisation of Aotearoa, in the New Zealand Listener, could equally be said of fossil-fuel use: “Complaining about what’s wrong but not taking action, has the same effect as not noticing what’s wrong…”

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Carbon tax and election could be left to the Left of Rodney

Corrected 22 June 2014 Aotearoa’s Green Party is in exceptionally good company. With its proposed carbon tax and ‘climate tax cut’, the party is finally in sync with the carbon ‘fee and dividend’ that Dr James Hansen has relentlessly promoted, at least since 2008. Dr...

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After 26 years of climate inaction pull plug on IPCC

It is unstoppable, and it has possibly doubled. And while that is only the disintegration of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet, the same is probably true for global warming generally. Three years of the most detailed satellite measurements yet, to the end…

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Only honourable option to oppose in full

The best strategy might have been to support the proposal in full. That way, the Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway board of inquiry might have been more receptive to the opportunity for a large-scale trial of open-ground indigenous plants. Realistically…

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Only with nuclear is there time to feed the world

Forty years ago this year, Band Aid released a single that in its first week became the fastest selling track in all time in the United Kingdom. Co-written by Bob Geldof, Do They Know it’s Christmas went on to sell more than three million copies, and led to…

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Mahurangi Action motorway condition 36c‍ ‍viii

It’s not, in fact, the harbour’s biggest threat since deforestation. The proposed Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway is only the biggest proximate threat. The biggest threat of course—the existential threat—is rampant global warming. The entire litany of…

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Renewable energy, nuclear power and Galileo

Climate scientists have long warned of potential catastrophic effects of unchecked fossil fuel use. Public awareness of the climate threat has increased. Yet growth of carbon dioxide in the air, the main driver of climate change, has accelerated…

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Mahurangi headwaters estimated not measured

In a straight line, the stream would run from Mahurangi to Palmerston North. That is, if all the streams in the Mahurangi catchment were laid end-to-end, and assuming, of course, that there was sufficient head to cause this hypothetical stream to run. Then…

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Mahurangi Harbour urgently needs to sign her friends

Paid-up ‘friends’ of the Mahurangi once numbered 300—on the back of the launch of Jade River: A History of the Mahurangi. The society titled Friends of the Mahurangi, now Mahurangi Action Incorporated, published Ronald Harry Locker’s masterly 416-page work in…

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Coast clear for Labour as the climate action party

Aotearoa’s major political parties share a broadly similar stance on anthropogenic global warming. In contrast, climate action in Australia and the United States is a deeply partisan business. The ‘invisible substance’ reference of Liberal Party leader and prime...

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Can’t afford to solve one problem at a time

When the Alpine Fault goes, it will probably take Wellington with it. Wellington, now Aotearoa’s second largest city, is staring down the barrel of the Alpine Fault, which is primed and due to jump eight metres horizontally and four vertically. In both 1220 and 1450,...

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4 or 40 years late climate thrust to front page

George Monbiot declared 28 August 2012 as the day world went mad. Writing on the following day, the Guardian’s respected environmental journalist asked readers to remember that date. It was the day that scientists announced the record Arctic…

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New unitary authority not going to plan

Len’s in danger of loosing it. As was all too apparent halfway through the term of Aotearoa’s first mayoral office to enjoy significant executive powers, Mayor Brown has bet the farm on a project for which he has little to show, come local body election year. Had...

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Unprecedented struggle yet story with no name

For two decades it was the Great War. Then, with the outbreak of World War II, it became the First World War. As a descriptive title, First World War says a great deal more than Great War. It would be even more descriptive, but less eloquent, as the First...

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Fourth-estate help to forget everything

By its very definition, global warming is a world issue. Global warming is also, inescapably, the world issue—the only one on track to take and to shorten billions of lives, and the only with the potential to extinguish life worldwide. Yet the New Zealand Herald’s new...

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Arguable beginning but Anthropocene definitely here

Cold has forever staked humanity. The Ice Age—or more formally, the Pleistocene glaciation—began 2.58 million years ago, and genus Homo just a whisker after that. Ostensibly, the Ice Age is ongoing, and the present interglacial period, during which…

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Survival in the hands of generation 10‍ ‍001

Sustainability could be the death of us. Bursting beyond the seven billion milestone, and with two billion poor and one billion poor and hungry, the global population is projected to swell to between 10 and 16 billion by the end of the century. In 2011, human…

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Only way forward for Labour seriously green

Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes describes it as unhelpful. But when the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment finds that subsidising smart meters would make a significant contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, in…

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Manifest evidence suggests science not an option

When Professor Sir Peter Gluckman recommends a title with such seemingly marginal appeal as The Geek Manifesto, it’s a sure bet rather more New Zealanders will be inclined to give the book a second glance than would otherwise have been the…

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Urgent need for nonpartisan Brown transport plan

There are mandates, and mandates. The mandate fairly claimed by the newly created Auckland Council’s inaugural mayor, Len Brown, was for building the city rail link. However, since Len Brown’s election, a National-led government has been…

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Another speech spiked of another true patriot

It is clearly not working. Oil still flows thickly and the Earth disgorges myriad other minerals in unprecedented abundance, yet the wheels have fallen off the global economy—unemployment and underemployment are at record highs. Global oil…

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Sea-level rise deregulated and developer-friendly

Water finds its own level. Or at least that is the received, and generally entirely useful, wisdom. Water in a hose, for example, can make a useful builder’s level. However, as anyone who has actually attempted to use one will likely attest, the odd bubble…

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Mahurangi Magazine reprints the New Lynn speech

You know that at the last election, the one that we lost so badly, nearly one million people didn’t vote; more than 800 000 people—a fifth of the population—didn’t vote. Now you know, there are lots of reasons that people didn’t vote, and there were…

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Democracy leadership and small islands visions

The ex-president of the Maldives is seeking to make sea-level rise a presidential election issue. Forced out of office at gunpoint in February, Mohamed Nasheed is in the United States promoting the documentary The Island President. On the…

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Vision of being world’s best at everything

It should have happened overnight. Dr Gareth Morgan’s Million-Dollar Mouse campaign deserved to have been over-subscribed by lunchtime the next day. After all, the philanthropist is matching contributions dollar for dollar, and so is only seeking $350‍ 000—the...

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CO2 psychology not rocket science

As I said at the time, the psychology of climate change isn’t rocket science; it is far more complicated than that. At December’s Mahurangi Club, I shared a few ideas around psychology, climate change, and climate change denial. Here I will share a bit more…

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Actions after election make history

It should probably start with the less-important issue. In this hypothetical ‘operation hymn sheet’, the leadership of the National and Green parties have been whisked away, their respective election celebrations still ringing in their ears, to a nice quiet place in...

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Party-vote green growth for a richer Aotearoa

In Australia, the party is simply called Australian Greens, or The Greens for short. In Aotearoa it is ‘The Greens, The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand’, which at 51 characters including spaces and punctuation is just one short of the 52-character maximum....

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Global warming gets chapter to itself

It is all the royal commission recommended and more. The recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance two and a half years ago, cite global warming, and sea-level rise in particular, as a significant…

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Nuclear power fan-death phobia

It will shortly be four years shy of half a century. In November 1965, the United States president’s science advisory committee warned: “Carbon dioxide is being added to the earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas at the rate of…

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100% pure space mission or motorway madness

It would cost about 7% of the planned Pūhoi–Wellsford motorway. But rather than generate more greenhouse gases and trust to luck that its ministers will never have to face an international climate court, the government could fund an urgently…

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No time to lose picking winners

Dogma continues to dog civilisation. An example is the market-forces mantra that governments should resile from picking winners, because they invariably get it wrong. Such dogma flies in the face of the wealth of examples of governments getting it gloriously and...

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Shweeb and/or trail-with-rail saving rail

Aotearoa must urgently re-invent its tourism model. Currently it is heavily dependent upon air travel, which will increasingly become cripplingly expensive thanks to peaked oil and user-pays for greenhouse gases. Aside from the obvious need for more…

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Mahurangi not an island

It would be safer, to stick to the knitting. Despite its ever-increasing readership—3643 visits last month—there is no knowing what percentage of the Mahurangi Magazine’s visitors would prefer to not read about anthropogenic global warming and the imperative for...

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Advantage of green pure genius

The concept’s catching on like wildfire. Since Pure Advantage launched on Thursday evening, the number of registered supporters has shot to more than 1000—responding to the call: The greater our numbers, the greater our influence on business…

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Much-needed storms of our granddaughters

Dick Smith writes entirely eloquently. Which should mean that Dick Smith’s Population Crisis gets to be read by a usefully broad audience. It also helps that his just-published book, at 198 pages, is not too dauntingly lengthy, given the inherently daunting…

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Regional sea-level rise chapter revisited

North Carolina has gone one better. Aotearoa merely curtailed work on a national environmental standard on sea-level rise, in a calculatedly cynical strategy to oblige each local territorial authority to run its sea-level rise policies by a gauntlet of…

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Dick Smith to Murdoch: Be a Beaverbrook

In a recent book, Terri Irwin makes this perceptive comment: “In a hundred years, what difference is it going to make worrying about two acres of land. We need to focus on the real change that will make the world a better place for our children and…”

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Emissions messiah misses agricultural greenhouse gases

On the face of it, New Zealanders have a light carbon footprint. Even Dr James Hansen, in his open letter to the prime minister, says that: New Zealand contributes relatively little to carbon emissions that drive climate change. Per‍ ‍capita fossil fuel emissions from...

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Planet doomed but save the sea and sky

The phrase ‘save the planet’ grates for good reason. Nothing that humankind can currently throw at it, greenhouse gases included, can affect the existence of planet Earth. Even if every nuclear weapon were detonated simultaneously for good…

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Storm sidestepped over fewer grandchildren

In one notable respect, he was not preaching to the converted. With the possible exception of the odd journalist, the 350 people who packed the 250-seat Auckland University lecture theatre on Thursday evening had been ready to hear everything…

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Long past time for precautionary principle

Dr James Hansen’s lecture is slated to start at 6.30‍ ‍pm. Or, if Thursday’s event’s Facebook page is to be believed, 6‍ ‍pm. In 1988 when Dr Hansen warned congress that anthropogenic greenhouse gases were going to seriously raise average global temperatures, the...

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Sea-level rise powered by Google

A trillion Google searches gobbles a prodigious amount of energy. But before eschewing online searches, climbing into the car and driving to the library, a little perspective: At 0.2‍ ‍grams per search, one‍ ‍trillion searches per year has a similar…

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Sea-level rise means dredging up the future

Writers urging climate action invariably claim that, although the situation is dire, by acting now, warming’s worst consequences can be avoided. But it is probable that it is already too late to prevent total ice-sheet loss and sea-level rise of about…

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