Listen now (8 mins) | Urgency of need to lower emissions fast escalates as Arctic warming four times faster than rest of globe; 2050 net zero target now less relevant than 2030; That means more focus on methane for NZ
I will file this with all the other articles I have going back to the early 80s telling us we had less than 10 years until climate apocalypse
Same as, same as. Rich white elderly asset owners are still deniers or obfuscators. We only have 8 years! But what about my parking!!
It will be easier to just prepare for the higher sea level than getting anyone to agree to drastic changes
Hi Bernard - we constantly talk about attacking supply of coal and oil, but not so much about users. It’s hard to get fully onboard to disruptions to the food supply when we still have private jets, leisure helicopters, luxury yachts, jet skis, leisure travel in general. It feels like we haven’t distinguished between our ‘wants’ and our needs. People need food. Maybe we all go vegetarian but perhaps start by banning private jets, and work down from there.
Sometimes it feels like the drug war, where we try and blame Colombia for the growing, without looking first at our consumption.
Different subject: Bernard, can we email directly, or would you prefer all questions to come via Substack? I would like to know your latest feelings on use of Direct Monetary Financing, especially now that that QE was mucked up and overdone. Thx.
Morning, Bernard - many thanks for another great Dawn Chorus. I’m a bit surprised that you have only just received the memo about methane. Rod Carr (a fellow economist) did a lot of explaining before and after the first CCC report about the amplifying effect of methane. He talked in terms of stocks and flows, which may have turned some people off, though it played well at the NZIER annual dinner just before the report came out.
Apart from that, all good.
Suggest you talk to my niece, Dr Belinda McFadgen, at MfE, who has been working hard on the first Climate Adaptation Report, released a fortnight ago. Her Masters (from Amsterdam) was on European Water Policy and her PhD (also Amsterdam) on related topics but focused on the process of policy development, so you can ask her a subsidiary question or two about Three Waters - she has not been working on that since she came back to NZ a couple of years ago, but she will doubtless be insightful.
Kia ora Bernard, thank you for looking through the lens of climate change. In response to your plea for suggestions of lines of inquiry in relation to transport - I would love to see you do a piece on the proposed amendments to the Local Government Act 1974 as proposed by the Minister of Transport. Perhaps this is already on your list to cover off.
Changes to our streets and increased investment in public transport and active modes of transport have the potential to reduce our emissions hugely. I am afraid there will be a lot of push back on the proposed amendments by those who want investment only in motor vehicles, and who see these proposals as being "anti-car" - when in reality the changes will make it easier for drivers by reducing congestion. The vast majority of the media seem to push a pro-car, anti-bike and anti public transport investment agenda, which can be very disheartening for those of us that are excited about the possibilities that would result from increased investment in these things. Tim Adriaansen puts it nicely here. https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/15-08-2022/aucklands-best-chance-to-fix-its-clogged-transport-system A Newshub article about our low rates in cycling spurred a lot of hateful Facebook comments, as well as many people who said they would cycle more often if it was safer to do so.
I know I am mostly likely preaching to the converted here, but I would love to see more articles about the positive changes that are possible in Aotearoa when we look at shifting away from private motor vehicles as our default mode of transport.
Here is a chart identifying the latitudinal location of the global temperature anomalies for the period identified. Most of the anomaly variance is in the Arctic, and as yet no-one can fully explain why this is occurring. Air ingress from lower latitudes is a prominent factor. Further, if you look at the linked article in Bernard's post, you will see that it is in the Arctic autumn, winter and early spring, when the suns energy in that region is at its lowest, that the higher temperature anomalies occur. This is completely the opposite of the CO2 theory.
Here is a chart with history of the temperature above 80N latitude.
Here is an interactive chart for both the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent by year. You will see that there is no problem with sea ice in both regions. Note that the Arctic minimum and the Antarctic maximum sea ice extent are within day of each other.
Polar bear numbers are at a record high in most regions of the Arctic, and thrive in lower sea ice conditions when it is easier for them t punch through the ice, or just get access into the Water. Dr Susan Crockford a polar bear specialist is a great place to start. https://polarbearscience.com/
The link refereed to in Bernard's post is about models related to forecasting what may happen.
That's a nicely written piece by Melanie Newfield on methane. Unfortunately, for NZ's case, it leaves out some very valid points. Methane from any source, for climate purposes, can be viewed as like water into a bathtub, and water out. If the flow in is greater than the decomposition outflow, the 'bathtub' of methane grows and increases the warming effect. But NZ's contribution to its 'bathtub' from farming has not grown measurably for 30 years: we are not currently increasing this problem. The bathtub still needs draining but it's not a 2030 issue for farming in common sense terms. I paste in the key explainer from Keith Woodford - his blog is excellent on agriculture -- this is under dairy.
"With methane, scientists know that the flow of methane into the atmosphere from New Zealand ruminant animals is close to what it was 30 years ago. As a consequence, and linked to the scientific knowledge that about eight percent of methane molecules decompose each year, an approximate balance in the atmospheric ‘bath tub’ has been reached and the atmospheric cloud of NZ pastoral-sourced methane is close to stable. Hence, this argument goes, New Zealand’s agriculturally-sourced methane is contributing to further global warming in a minimal way."
I have supplied the link because it explains in more detail the complex issues around methane for the world and NZ.
I would be interested for you to dig in a bit more about what the opposition say when they want to reverse Labour's climate policy's, in favor of the ETS, which can do all of the 'heavy lifting'. Coming from a place of ignorance with ETS, could a super-charged ETS actually do all the heavy lifting, while all other policies are dialed back?
Also, did ACT say they will get rid of ETS? Wonder how that would play out in a coalition negotiations.
One thing many folks are saying is that it is a surprise how fast the climate is changing and surprised at the level of damage caused and I think that comes from a fundamental misunderstanding about the language scientists use.
I'm not a climate change scientist, I'm a plant molecular biologist, so I'm not an expert in this field but I am reasonably well read through articles on climate change in the journals Science, Nature, PNAS and many science podcasts and newsletters etc
One thing that's clear to me is that when climate change scientists are writing and talking they are using the conservative cautious language that all scientists use (we're used to be wrong so we are used to using weasel words and language that allows for being wrong)
So when a scientist says something is of interest or of some concern, then it means something huge and and massively worrying is almost certainly happening - but they'll never use "ordinary" language to say that.
The problem of course is the media and ordinary folks hear the weasel words and the passive voice and think "oh that doesn't sound like it's an urgent problem"
So the upshot is for most folks and the media - yeah the speed of change and the harm being caused is a surprise - but for scientists reading and listening to what the climate change experts are saying it's no surprise - they've been saying it's a freaking shitstorm coming and coming fast - but they just haven't said it with those words
All that is to say leaving real change until 2040 is kinda pointless because by then nothing we do will be able to stop the catastrophe
And how much do you think private jets contribute to global warming vs those of mainstream carriers? Do you think those Chilean grapes in the supermarket paddled across the Pacific?
2030 is too close for prevention, maybe governments should be focusing on mitigation as well.
Thank you. How about Direct Financing for funding infrastructure? That is not inflationary.
Bernard, are there any plans for green bonds to help fund cycleways, solar panels, dense housing etc? It would be a great way for cashed up boomers to pay it forward for future generations.
I don't understand how consenting has anything to do with financing the project. Direct Funding could be ready to go when the project is ready. And of course you wouldn't do it if the sector was at capacity (and could not increase its capacity), to avoid inflation.
re: normal debt issuance, why would we have to pay interest to private banks to make the industry trust the process? Surely there is an alternative to avoid that high cost.
Lastly, what do you think about using Direct Funding for the Three Waters infrastructure, estimated to cost up to $185 billion over the next 30 years?