Sunday 13 June 2021

Hoping For Divine Intervention.

By Any Chance, Are These Two Related? Climate Change Commission Chair, Rod Carr, and Michelangelo's Jehovah. Is that the message hidden in the CCC's report? That only divine intervention can save the planet from the effects of anthropogenic global warming?

ROD CARR reminds me of God. Seriously, that beard. From a distance, in poor light, the God of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling could easily be mistaken for the Chair of the Climate Change Commission (CCC). More to the point, Carr seems to believe he possesses at least some of the powers of the Almighty. How else to explain the “transformational” plans he has developed to meet the, frankly, unachievable goals this government has set itself vis-à-vis greenhouse gas emissions? Contrariwise, maybe that’s exactly the message Carr is trying to send: “From here on in, folks, only divine intervention can save us!”

That the CCC and the Government have got this far without encountering very much in the way of pushback from the public (farmers don’t count as the public) is because New Zealanders have no idea how much their day-to-day lives will be affected if Carr’s masterplan becomes Government policy. Everybody pays lip service to fighting global warming, but beyond occasionally catching a bus, or walking – instead of driving – to the chippie, it’s business as usual. Hardly anyone is prepared for the radical change of lifestyle which Carr’s recommendations would require. So, when the climate change penny finally drops, all hell is going to break loose.

In a country currently engaged in a such a passionate love affair with the SUV, does the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and the Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, truly believe New Zealanders are going to embrace electric motor vehicles without a backward glance? Do they seriously expect their political opponents to rise selflessly above all the opportunities for inflicting mortal injuries upon them by telling the voters that although they may not wanna – they hafta?

Four words: Not. Going. To. Happen.

Act’s David Seymour has already indicated the Right’s general direction of travel. He has called for Carr’s report to be thrown into the rubbish bin. Picking apart his response, it’s not difficult to predict the core content of the emerging right-wing narrative.

Carr’s plans are typically elitist in their lofty disregard for the lives of ordinary New Zealanders. Indeed, the burden of this plan of his will fall most heavily upon those Kiwis least able to bear it. Is the cleaner living in South Auckland, who travels miles each day by car to reach her workplace, seriously being asked to buy an electric vehicle? And even if the government finances her into one, how is she supposed to power it up?

When the whole global warming schtick is about not being able to take for granted all the weather events that make it possible to rely on hydro-electric energy and those godawful windmill thingies, what makes Carr and his minions so sure there will be enough electrical energy to keep a vehicle fleet of millions powered up? What if the snows don’t come? What if there’s a prolonged drought? What if the winds fall away to nothing for weeks at a time? I mean, presumably, the scientists call it “climate change” for a reason!

Seymour is also pointing the way, right-wing wise, when he counsels against New Zealand attempting to lead the world in its response to climate change. Why would we want to do that, he asks? What’s wrong with being a “fast follower”? Let others invest the billions in research. Let others develop the technological fix. Why shouldn’t we just do the best we can and await developments?

The Taxpayers’ Union is running a very similar line. This is what Jordan Williams had to say in response to Carr’s recommendations:

You might read in the media that the Commission has softened the hard edges of some of its targets (like electric vehicles and renewable energy). But working through the detail I’m sad to report that the plan doubles down on its most egregious and costly elements. Let me be very clear: this plan will not improve our ability to fight climate change. It deliberately shuns the ‘least cost’ approach and the Emissions Trading Scheme in favour of a ‘transformation’ of the New Zealand economy. This isn’t me saying this. The Commission’s own experts say that the ETS would actually get us to our emissions targets without radical interventions.

You can see where this is going, can’t you? This is going straight to the Right’s happy place, where calm and reasonable folk can say: “Look, we don’t have to change our lives in the way the CCC and the Ardern Government are suggesting. There’s a perfectly sensible scheme already in place. What’s wrong with telling people that if they want to consume a more-than-sensible amount of fossil fuel, then they’ll have to pay for the privilege? What’s wrong with letting the market decide?”

Oh, sure, the likes of Shaw, Marama Davidson and Julie-Anne Genter will wax eloquent about Aotearoa’s responsibility to do all it can to meet its Paris (and, in a few months, Glasgow) targets. They will insist that we have a moral duty to save the planet for our mokopuna. But by then, nobody will be listening. Why? Because the Right will be beating on the deplorable drum.

The deplorable drum? WTF is the deplorable drum? Well, that’s the drum that beats out the message that undermines everything God – I mean Rod – Carr and the Labour Government are trying to do.

And what message is that? The Right’s deplorable – but irrefutable – message is this. Read it and weep.

“Don’t listen to all these greenie idiots. Don’t let all this nonsense about New Zealanders having to step up to the challenge of climate change fool you. To hear people like Carr and Shaw and Ardern tell it, if we sacrifice our way of life, if we pull on the hair shirt of social and economic decline, then somehow we’ll be saved. Somehow, all over these blessed islands of ours, the climate will return to the norms of the Holocene. All BS, of course, because Climate Change is a planetary problem. And do you know how much this country contributes to the emissions that are threatening Mother Earth? No? Well, let me tell you. In 2014, our contribution was just 0.17 percent. That’s right. If we stopped using fossil fuels altogether. If we took ourselves back to the stone age in the name of saving the planet – no one would even notice. The only people who can save the planet are China and the United States. Will they? Well, that’s the only question that really matters, isn’t it? And we can’t answer it.”

A bitter truth? Oh, yes. But prepare to hear it spoken more and more forcefully in the years ahead. As the sun goes down on humanity’s hopes, and not even Rod Carr’s godlike self-confidence can disperse the encroaching darkness, I can’t help recalling the words of Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower:

“No reason to get excited”,
The thief he kindly spoke,
“There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate.
So let us not talk falsely now,
The hour is getting late.”

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 11 June 2021.


John Hurley said...

Starting with rents. On Newshub we saw a 95 year old doing it really hard. I know someone like that. He borrowed money from some local charity in his 70s; pays $300/week rent on the pension. This is where we are at already. If enough people by electric cars up goes your power bill. At the end of the day it comes back to the ratio of people to resources and distance from markets. No one has argued against that position harder than the Greens.

Nick J said...

Climate change is real but we seem to be stuck in a paradigm of belief that we can carry on our high energy consumerist growth orientated lifestyle AND save the planet.

To illustrate Labour and Green politicians push the concept that we replace petrol cars with electric cars. This is basically a fools errand in terms of reducing carbon. There will be more embedded carbon in the mining of resources and manufacture of electric car batteries than petrol engines that will last longer. Then there is the generation of electricity using fossil fuels. There is plenty of research generally available but it falls into the realm of heresy versus the techno narcissism of the Greens in particular.

To be fair politicians of all camps merely reflect our human denial of realities that dont suit our short term views. We can mitigate climate disaster but we wont. Lip service whilst driving to the supermarket to buy industrialised food from all round the planet. Lets abandon grass grazed beef to burn deisel ploughing petrochemical fertiliser into marginal soils to grow beans. How to feel virtuous at the dinner table cured.

My take is that what will save humans from climate disaster will be the exhaustion of fossil fuels and centuries of harsh adjustment to low energy life as the planet marginalises us and heals itself. Or, highly unlikely we could act now.

Trev1 said...

How can anyone take seriously the Climate Commission's report when the Commission denied access to their data and modelling in the "consultation" phase? Free and open debate is the basis of good science but not in New Zealand it seems. Among other things the report vastly overestimates the role of methane and ignores the Paris Agreement's cutout for food production, while calling for the slaughter of 5 million animals.

Of course the Paris Agreement commits us to participate in international efforts to restrain global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above "pre-industrial levels" and yet it is often overlooked that nowhere in the Agreement, neither in any footnote nor in any annex, are these "pre-industrial levels" defined. This reflects the fact that there is no "consensus" on when in history this key baseline should be established. Just how long is a piece of string then? The Earth has been much warmer and it has been much colder including in historical times. Think of the abandonment of Greenland by the Viking settlers in the 15th century with the onset of the "Little Ice Age". The absurdities continue. Water vapour is a far more prevalent greenhouse gas than CO2 and yet nobody would seriously suggest efforts to restrain the production of water vapour.

But taking the report at face value, if the electrification of transport and other sectors were to be viable we would have to vastly increase our generating capacity, at least doubling it. "Renewables" like solar and wind aren't going to suffice, and consents for new hydro dams will never be granted. We will likely keep importing coal in ever increasing quantities, or go cold and hungry in winter. Nuclear power is the only solution but that is politically non viable. The Commission's report is an elitist prescription for foolishly and needlessly plunging most New Zealanders into grinding poverty such as we have never experienced before. While the rest of the world looks on in bemusement.

David George said...

I can fully understand that people are fearful about climate change, the promotion of the idea has been extraordinary. It's a dictum of the current millennial cult that we're well on the road to a racial/climate/environmental/disease and disaster catastrophe.

All this leaves fertile ground for the sceptics position as it's becoming increasingly apparent that there is a serious and fundamental problem with the AGW theory and the projections arising from it. We've been bombarded with warnings for forty years about the end of snow, an ice free arctic, flooded cities and so on.

The climate obviously didn't get the memo as it's much the same, better if anything, the warnings either wildly exaggerated or completely wrong. Meanwhile all sorts of mad ideas are being forced on the people as our government, in their manner, are laying a path to our impoverishment and destabilisation.

Chris Morris said...

I have written it in other forums, but will repeat it here. No-one in NZ has surveyed just how much people are prepared to pay to stop climate change. The research overseas is that the majority won't pay even $10 a week. If that ratio applies to NZ, and there is no reason why it shouldn't then the elites and technocrats will be in for a very rude awakening when the Waitakere man realises he is having to pay through the nose for his Ford Ranger so some Grey Lynn graphic designer can be subsidised to feel virtuous.

greywarbler said...

'Free and open debate' in NZ? Some minds are so open that only flypaper can hold onto any facts substantially valuable that come their way. Just these columns as an example. The same old drum beating types savaging any attempt to examine life from any different angle than the one they favour. It's a narrow but deep ditch that carries public comment and like all NZ pathways, strewn with discarded rubbish and the half-digested hamburgers and empty alcohol bottles - the fuel of the NZ common thinking man.

David George said...

Yes Trev, people are, apparently, unaware of the continuous changes in climate and of our ability to adapt to them. Worse, the idea that there is some sort of ideal or natural temperature level, and that any change is caused by us, ties in with an obsessive and dangerous belief in the inherent evil of humanity itself.

It's only about 18,000 years ago that large parts of the earth were covered in ice and the sea level was 120 metres below present. You could have walked from the North to the South Island. That glaciation was followed by the 5,000 year Holocene Optimum with warmer than present climate, a green Sahara, natural abundance and the global flowering of civilisation itself.
When we first came to these Islands during the medieval warm period our tropical crops, taro, yams and kumara could be easily grown. Kumara as far south as Otago. The arrival of the little ice age led to real hardship and, especially for southern areas, a reliance on hunter gatherer subsistence. The demise of the moa and accessible seal colonies, the rise of intertribal resource wars and widespread hardship are attributable to a significantly cooler New Zealand. Warm is good!

Woodbrook said...

Re the argument that NZ emits such a small percentage of global emissions - true but two points to counter that as an argument not doing our bit to reduce emissions: Yes, CC is a planet-wide problems and under our multilateral system, everyone has to do their bit. Imagine if, at the start of WWII, NZ had said 'We are a small country and we can only contribute 1 or 2 Divisions which will not make a difference, so we are staying neutral'. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, even if in the great scheme of things our contributions will not make that much of a difference. And there is self interest here too - increasingly, trade negotiations will integrate environmental, including climate change standards.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It's only about 18,000 years ago that large parts of the earth were covered in ice and the sea level was 120 metres below present. You could have walked from the North to the South Island. That glaciation was followed by the 5,000 year Holocene Optimum with warmer than present climate, a green Sahara, natural abundance and the global flowering of civilisation itself."

18,000 years ago the population of the earth could probably have supported itself using our present system of agriculture on the North Island, without having to walk to the South Island. Now the population of the earth is billions, many of which live on agricultural land that is going to be inundated when – I almost said if – sea levels rise. I hope then Dave you are prepared for an influx of migrants? Few of whom will have skills beyond subsistence agriculture.

Badger said...

I'm all reassessing the way we do things. But why is stating the truth, politically driven or not, "deplorable?"

CXH said...

Greywarbler - while it is true some minds are as open as you claim, a greater number are shuttered up. Closed to all except those they know will completely agree with everything they think.

These zealots are far more dangerous than those needing flypaper to catch an idea.

Simon Cohen said...

How perceptive of Greywarbler to write a comment which is so self descriptive. I am amazed he is so aware of his own state of mind.

greywarbler said...

When people start articulating far historic human and planet earth facts about changes over thousands of years I think of zooming out in a google map. If the commenter can philosophically discuss ancient times one gets diverted and a bit fuzzy about what is happening NOW, what a vast number of scientists say ABOUT IT, and what other thinkers, using facts and honest projections say is likely to happen SOON. Then someone thoughtful can use honest models mixed with population information and observation to advise how WE should be acting to gain RESILIENCE - that word which is overused after tragic events when people are without food and amenities.

So stuff your meanderings about the past up your Funk and Wagnall. (Don't know what that is! It was a common USA expression, a put-down in the past, replaced by newer ones, just as your arguments need to be.)

greywarbler said...

Thanks CXH, I didn't expect affirmation from your sharp, cutting intelligence. And Simon Cohen you are welcome to keep having pot-shots at me, so absorbing your attention away from the sadness of the hot-shots of Israel. Yes indeed, can you think of something we could all do to absorb their attention away from decimating the Palestinians so as to feel proud and safe at last. The mighty intellect of the Jewish people has been devastated by WW2; so many people and so much lost to the world in the twentieth century. Can we change in the 21st, two important decades in already!

Unknown said...

In 2017, Our emissions were 0.1% of total emissions according to Fossil CO2 emissions of all world countries - 2018 Report". Publications Office of the European Union.

The same publication has China at 29.34%.

IN fact, from 2005 to 2017, Our Fossil Fuel emissions did not grow at all.

It would be interesting to see where they are now.

llloyd said...

You make reference that J.A. and company are trying to return New Zealand to the stone age. Before British contact, New Zealand was literally in the stone age. They idealise that as Shangri-la. So this should not surprise us.

Barry said...

Nuclear and gene technology application are the only realistic approach to reducing whatever influence mankind has on climate.
Until then its all politics and pandering to the greens. The wailing and moaning lot will go silent when the cost of the CCC programme starts to bite.

David George said...

That's a real problem GS, seven or eight billion people mostly reliant for their sustenance on efficient, modern agricultural crops produced with the aid of fossil fuels for cultivation, harvesting, fertilising, processing, preserving and transportation. Absent any viable replacement phasing out their use over the next ten to thirty years would result in widespread famine and death. The cure worse than the disease?

The lies about AGW are becoming increasingly desperate; yesterday James Shaw, climate minister, made the ridiculous claim that "the last time there was carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the concentrations present today, there were palm trees in Antarctica"

Everything about that claim is wrong as he should or does know. Antarctica was situated on the equator then and CO2 was at double present levels.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Actually David, most of those 7 or 8 billion people live in India and China, and in India at least huge "modern" farms are less prevalent, and yet it still feeds itself. The average farm size in China is .1 of a hectare. And yet they seem to be able to feed themselves – although they do over use agricultural chemicals.
And yes, they might be some exaggeration around global warming, but it is undeniable. Climate scientists are almost universal in its existence, its effects and its causes. And the only people who are denying it are a crazy fringe.

Doug Longmire said...

"The Commission's report is an elitist prescription for foolishly and needlessly plunging most New Zealanders into grinding poverty such as we have never experienced before. While the rest of the world looks on in bemusement."

You are quite right Trev. This seems to be part of the socialist Comrade Ardern agenda.

Also - as pointed out above, New Zealand's CO2 emissions are about 0.1% of the total global CO2 emissions put out by the rest of the world, especially India, China and America.
Now - 0.1% is ONE THOUSANTH of the total.

So, even if NZ stopped ALL our CO2 emissions overnight, it would have ZERO effect.
One thousanth is simply too small to have any effect whatsoever on the globe. It is below the margin of error.

Simon Cohen said...

Greywarblers anti Semitism is once again obvious for all to see.

greywarbler said...

It is an interesting and revealing comment from Simon Cohen that 'my anti-Semitism is once again obvious for all to see'. This I think is similar to what a Jewish group in the UK Labour Party has done to Jeremy Corbyn who has been ousted from leadership after being dogged by this claim, apparently for speaking up for the Palestinians, disadvantaged for 50 years, now under increasing attacks. Labelling someone in the way Cohen has, is apparently enough to damage the reputation of an aspiring person looking to promote good human values in any venue; that is defamation.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Grey. I once had a young person asked me how they could best support the Palestinian cause. I honestly have no idea about the best method of that, but I did have to warn them to be prepared to be accused of anti-Semitism. It's a typical Hasbara way of trying to shut down the debate, by labelling everyone who criticises the state of Israel as anti-Semitic. I'm not sure how successful it is, but decent people don't like this label, and might try to avoid it. Maybe I'm indecent, because it's never bothered me – although to be fair I'm not writing under my own name here, and the major place were I do write under my own name is international and not likely to result in any consequences. But it is something to keep in mind.

Nick J said...

Interestingly the gummint just released incentives to electric vehicle adoption.

I was listening to a pod where a scientist was explaining that the embodied energy in an electric vehicle was about 1.5 times a petrol vehicle, yet the laws of physics preclude batteries that last beyond 140,000km. The petrol vehicle engine may last 4 times as far.

The killer on the above equation was that the embedded energy was necessarily fossil fuels in mining and manufacture. To add insult to that injury he stated that 90% of world electricity came from coal and gas stations, that we would need to multiply supply several times to replace petrol with electric cars, and our grids would need rebuilding.

Even if the above is only partially correct our politicians are selling us a lemon.

Some good links to this can be found at

Nick J said...

GS, you are right about crazy fringe myopia. I once "fed" the family on a 400 sq m vegetable bed, lots of spuds, carrots, toms greens etc. That didnt provide bread, protein etc. Observation is that it was hard work being a peasant and a good way to stay thin.

The 0.1 hectare farms you mention (Im not disputing) may produce a lot, but the effort must be exhausting. That however may be our future if industrial agriculture fails through lack of fuel. Then throw some Global warming climate event like 500 year floods at it. David may be feeling hungry already.

Simon Cohen said...

Greywarbler seems to think that Jeremy Corban was ousted from the Labour Party leadership for apparently speaking up for Palestinians. In fact he resigned the leadership [and retired to the back benches] after leading Labour to its worst defeat since 1935. However when the EHRC published the following report [which the current leadership of Labour accepted in its entirety] Corbyn refused to accept the validity of it and was suspended from the party. The fact that Greywarbler supports Corbyn's position on this shows once again his anti-Semitism.

In May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it would be investigating the party over its handling of the claims.

On Thursday, the long-awaited report was published.

But what did it say?
The watchdog said its analysis "points to a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it".

The interim chair of the EHRC, Caroline Waters, released a statement alongside the report, saying the investigation had "highlighted multiple areas" where the party's "approach and leadership to tackling anti-Semitism was insufficient".

"This is inexcusable," she added, "and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so."

But what about the law?

Here, the EHRC found Labour responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints and harassment, including the use of anti-Semitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of anti-Semitism were fake or smears.

greywarbler said...

It appears that the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn were very poorly educated about anti-Semitism and needed to attend some long workshops advising about it, and how to erase it from their thinking. That this was not done is indicated by how wide-spread this state of ignorance was and the extreme distress it resulted in from Jewish people.

I tried to find some concise, definite examples, which may be enlightening. I thought I would go to the Urban Dictionary that tends to be forthright, though sometimes rude. But it produced something of value:

1) The act of persecuting, bullying, discriminating, and/or committing crimes against or upon another individual(s) or group of persons based on, because of, or due to their moral or Christian or Jewish beliefs, or/and disability, or due to their religious appearance or speech (Nun, Sister, Priest, etc);
2) for a, or because of, difference(s) of (a) moral religion or beliefs, righteous lifestyle, or because the victim worships or serving the only Living GOD of Israel;
3) The act of doing crimes or persecuting the moral without a justifiable cause;
4) judicial discrimination against an employee, defendant, or plaintiff because of moral beliefs or faith, moral act, or moral stance/stand;
5) The act of committing a crime(s) to acquire the land, property (ies), business, home, or possession(s) of a Christian, Jew, disabled, or aged person;
6) the hatred of righteousness, goodness, wisdom, and/or morality;
7) Is the BASIS of terrorism see: the UN International definition of Terrorism, and USA Federal law The Patriot Act;
8) An action or act that causes a Christian or Jew displacement (Federal law);
9) To force a person's will or immorality upon upon a person of moral beliefs or faith because of hate for their religious differences or beliefs;
10) To fulfill, make, and/or act upon threats made to another based on the victim's Christian or Jewish faith, religion, or beliefs (Biblical, Christian, Torah).
However there is umbrage taken with much of the Urban Dictionary's language and approach.
So anything that comes from there will be questioned no doubt.

Merriam-Webster is usually reliable: Anti-semitism | Definition of Anti-semitism by Merriam-Webster › dictionary › anti-S...
Anti-Semitism definition is - hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.

I hope this is helpful.

greywarbler said...

The workings of power in the political process have to be studied to be understood. And even then it is hard to believe them.

Some details - Caroline Winter was appointed Deputy Chair of EHRC [Equality and Human Rights Commission] in 2013.
Deputy Chair:   Caroline Waters OBE
Disability Commissioner: Chris Holmes MBE
The deputy chair will be paid £450 per day for approximately 52 days per year.  
The disability commissioner and the commissioners will be paid £400 per day for approximately 25 days per year.
Also -
Caroline Waters OBE - Sustainable Care Programme Advisory Board Member - Vice President of Carers UK and Founder and CEO of CW Consulting Box, Caroline Waters was also Director of People and Policy at BT...[and many other appointments].   The woman is a model of Concern.   She is a businesswoman in the area of human rights law, behaviour and culture, and sounds very busy and zealous enough to earn her an OBE in 2010. 

In the EHRC she follows David Isaacs, from a law firm apparently receiving there a salary of 500,000 Brit Pounds and also 50,000 Brit Pounds for his EHRC role.
(There's money in this business of looking after minorities and poor folks.)

Such as: 'Isaac said these changes would help make the commission, which has had its budget reduced from £70m at its inception in 2007 to £17m,'...

Addressing the EHRC’s decision to halt an investigation into Conservative party Islamophobia, Isaac said it was only a pause, while the Tories carried out their own inquiry.“It [the party inquiry] was due to report by the end of the year [2020] so I’m interested to know whether or not it has reported or whether it’s slipped,” he said.“My view is that the commission needs to look at the recommendations of that review and if it is unhappy with the approach that it’s taken and whether or not it is sufficiently independent and robust, if it’s not satisfied about those things, then it should investigate Islamophobia in the Tory party in the way that it investigated antisemitism in the Labour party.”

Labour Party controversy  -

(Mr Isaacs believes that the Commission should be entirely independent but with considerable government money to fund its objectives. I think that Jeremy Corbyn would not agree they need more of anything.  I note that their budget has gone down rather than up. A dangerous little clique for UK politicians to give rein to, ready to deal to unfavoured people.)