Red Alert

Post #1 from Cancun

Posted by on November 30th, 2010

I’m in Cancun, Mexico, at the 16th UN Climate Change Conference. Like last year at the 15th Conference in Copenhagen, I am representing Labour as its climate spokesperson; I paid my own way to get here; I am part of the delegation from the International Trade Union Confederation (thanks to Helen Kelly and Sharan Burrow). I’ve done it this way so as to retain an independent voice from the NZ Government delegation to the Conference. I’m here to support efforts to get an ambitious, binding, global deal to limit the problems that we are all likely to face as a result of human-induced climate change, and to support a just transition to the different world we are all to shortly going to find ourselves living in.

Unlike last year, climate change isn’t the big topic on everyone’s mind. John Key hasn’t had to bow to public pressure and agree to come to the conference. Expectations are low for progress to be made this year, especially given Democrat losses at the mid-term elections, and the developing world’s (understandable) reluctance to move to reduce carbon emissions while the US looks unlikely to do so.

So why am I here? Well, just because the media isn’t talking about it so much doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t just as serious as it was last year. My aunts’ home in Tahiti, 6m from the high tide line, is no less likely to be washed away by rising sea levels than it was last year. Millions of people in their position in developing countries are no more able to afford to mitigate or adapt to the effects of human-induced climate change than they were in December last year. The figleaf of a much watered-down ETS aside, National is still failing to put in place any meaningful policies at home to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and also still failing to provide any moral leadership internationally on the climate issue.

In fact, if anything, the situation has worsened since Copenhagen. According to Oxfam, twice the number of people died from extreme climate events in the first 9 months of 2010 as died from them in the whole of 2009. Global GHG emissions continue to rise. Temperature increases over the medium term seem likely to be in the 4 degree range, rather than the 2 degrees that was regarded only last year at Copenhagen as the minimum acceptable level. Don’t even get me started on how much more is now understood about the the likely disastrous effects of increased ocean acidification.

We can all do so much better. We need to get human-induced climate change back on the media’s agenda and back on the minds of the public. And we need to promote and be part of ambitious, binding, and just global solutions to the problem.

I’ll be posting from Cancun every couple of days on progress (positive and negative) made here.


46 Responses to “Post #1 from Cancun”

  1. David Farrar says:

    As the IPCC official prediction for sea level rises by 2100 is up to 59cm, I think your aunt’s house at 600 cm is safe unless she lives to be 300 or so.

  2. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    Unless you paid for it out of your own pocket, its a waste of taxpayer money sending you there to a convention that will produce no results, which is good because cc is either fake/unavoidable/unstobbable or natural – unless you want to live in a world with real economy and pay tax to third world dictatorships for keeping yourself warm in the winter.

  3. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    *no real

  4. Dave says:

    Thanks David – the voice of sanity amongst the pink, wobbly and hysterical

  5. Spud says:

    “I’m in Cancun, Mexico, at the 16th UN Climate Change Conference” Did you see Pansy Wong hiding out anywhere? :-D

    “I paid my own way to get here” Good on ya mate! :-D Though I wouldn’t have been bothered if you didn’t! :-D

    Goodluck Charles! :-D

  6. Dan says:

    “According to Oxfam, twice the number of people died from extreme climate events in the first 9 months of 2010 as died from them in the whole of 2009.”

    This is a long bow to draw. Are you saying there were no floods, storms or droughts before the Industrial era?

  7. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    Just want to clarify my comment. It doesn’t come across well, but what I meant by “Unless you…etc” was that that would be the only reason for him being there, he paying for it himself, because wasting money on this like Spud suggests is not a wise move.

  8. reid says:

    Audrey he’s only doing it so he can stand apart from the govt line, so Labour can proclaim they care much much more about the climate than the tories.

    One wonders of course at the value of having any trade union delegates there at all. I mean, what are they going to say when they get back home. Er… AGW is bad, mmmmmK?

  9. Tigger says:

    Farrar – great to see National so committed to climate change that the best they can do this year is send you to this blog to make smarmy comments…

  10. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    There’s bigger issues to deal with Tigger than a figment of a bunch of politically motivated “scientists” and UN socialists wringing their hands about gas in the sky.

  11. pdm says:

    I am in London and it is snowing in Autumn. In addition the North East of England and a fair bit of Scotland is buried in snow – in Autumn.

    The conference you are attending in Cancun is an absolute waste of time and money because nothing will come out of it unless you understand that your so called Global Warming or Climate Change is/are acually just nature at work.

    As has been the case since time began.

  12. Spud says:

    Hey, :-( , the dude has climate change as his portfolio, he’s doing his job by going to this! :-(

    I have my doubts about Climate con too, but he believes in it and is doing good things.

  13. reid says:

    “I have my doubts about Climate con too, but he believes in it and is doing good things.”

    So if you have doubts, how come it’s a good thing when it translates, as it has and will continue, into something which requires us to pay lots of money for? For what?

    Personally I’m not sure it’s a good thing for if we have to pay lots of money for anything, wouldn’t it be better to pay that money to poor people at home, rather than to overseas govts so they can do who knows what with it?

    And again, to achieve what, specifically? Grow more trees? By trashing the forestry tax credit, Labour encouraged hundreds of dairy conversions. Was that good vis-a-vis AGW, or what? Is the plan perhaps to become the worlds biggest population of trans-city cyclists, where we not only bike to work, we bike to holiday, etc and so forth.

    It’s just no-one has articulated the final vision, you see.

  14. Spud says:

    I wasn’t talking about the ETS, RRRRR :evil: , I meant that he’s doing what he believes is right for the planet. :-)

    You do make good points about all the money and stuff, you win, :-(

  15. Anasazi says:

    Climate change and all that stuff is BS.
    Still, I wish I had thought it up AND started an ETS, would make a fortune. Audrey has some sense at least.

  16. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    If only the two major parties could work together to throw that out of the ballpark. Then start screaming at each other about the real issues :)

  17. Al1ens says:

    act supporters 0 – 1 World scientific community

    Really, who you going to believe? Renowned scientists with years of credible research behind them, or nutjob right wingers that steal dead childrens identities for fun?

  18. pdm says:

    Spud says `he is doing what he believes in’.

    Since he is in opposition and with the common sense of voters will be there until he is a very old man, he actually cannot do anything in the forseeable future anyway – and we are all thankful for that.

  19. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    I’m not going to believe a party that has given us the only NZ MP ever convicted of corruption, if that’s the angle you want to go down.

  20. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    Actually, plenty of people across political lines do not believe in climate change. Look at Anasazi there. Again, though, not listening to the guys who gave us TFF…

  21. Audrey from Dunedin says:

    *TPF

  22. Colonial Viper says:

    Belief or nonbelief in man made climate change is irrelevant.

    Trends in extreme climactic events and ecosystem change are progressing (man made or not) and we better be taking steps to pay more attention to them as a civilisation.

    The frog who waits for final irrefutable proof of global warming before jumping is the cooked frog.

  23. Spud says:

    Al1ens – two words for you – leaked emails! :evil:

    Aw pdm, :-( , Charles will be in government next year! :-D :-D :-D !

    Not that I want him to bring in climate legislation, would like no ETS, but at least the dream team will rule :-D

    @New southern chick, that convicted MP isn’t around anymore! :-D

    @Viper – bonne appetit! :-D

  24. Spud says:

    My comment is in modhell, it’s not fair dammit, waaa :cry:

  25. grumpy says:

    CV
    “The frog who waits for final irrefutable proof of global warming before jumping is the cooked frog.”

    There is a name for those who throw themselves off cliff for absolutely no reason – lemmings.

  26. Al1ens says:

    “if that’s the angle you want to go down”

    I’m sure you mean ‘Avenue’ or ‘road’, but as long as I’m not doing it in a gas guzzling motor, aye :-D

  27. Tracey says:

    It would be really really really cool if everyone presenting papers/research for or against the rather indefinable concept of “climate change” would really and trult reveal who funded it. Not the shelf company of the subsidiary of the whatever.

    BOTH sides of this equation will be having the science funded by vested interests. For example USA is still one of the biggest polluters, so they have a vested interest in certain industries of nay saying their pollutants cut cut down on compliance costs.

    My view is that I dont mind why people seek to pollute less, whether for good or bad reasons, to save money or push a political barrel. If as humans we act more responsibly toward our environment and each other, by, among other things, reducing pollution, then I see it as a good thing.

    I dont believe everything I see or hear, from any side of an argument simply because someone said it, and the others said it too. Letters after a name dont necessarily mean much either.

    DR. Chris De Freitas is an avid anti climate change chap. he writes some very interesting stuff on this topic. However I dont think I ever read him saying he thinks polluting the planet is a good thing.

    If people hire more women because it makes economic sense rather than it being the “right” thing to do, then I’ll take that, same with reducing pollution.

  28. Tracey says:

    Audrey, did you read the post before you began commenting, Charles was REALLY clear he paid for the trip himself?

    Nice to see a new face

  29. Spud says:

    Oh man, my 10:15am comment still hasn’t been modded through! :-( :-( :-(

  30. harold says:

    The planet has been warming and cooling for 6 1/4 billion years but in the last 20 or so it’s all our fault for driving a motor car… Enjoy your holiday Charlie Shovel.

    And at CV – it’s been shown that there are no more natural disasters, extreme climactic events than in the past, the only thing that has changed is more widespread reporting as a result of the internet and hysteria generated as a result of the global warming/climate change myth.

  31. Colonial Viper says:

    And at CV – it’s been shown that there are no more natural disasters, extreme climactic events than in the past,

    Interesting. Shown by whom?

  32. insumnation says:

    Have you bought Carbon Credits to offset your trip?

  33. richie says:

    It about speed of change, yes climate change happens naturally and a definitive cycle is identifable over thousand of years of both warming and cooling.

    BUT Unless an astroid strikes or a number of large volcanic events occur (stuff that killed the dinosaurs) you would not get the speed of change that is occuring now naturally. The science of this solid.

    The impact on humanity in terms of food production and distrubition, energy consumption and fresh water are the real concerns.

    Not silly red herring arguments about whoses grand mothers house is going to be flooded.

  34. insumnation says:

    what are your thoughts on rationing in New Zealand Charles?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8165769/Cancun-climate-change-summit-scientists-call-for-rationing-in-developed-world.html

    electorally palatable? is that relevant? You are their to make a difference and nod your head to the scientists after all.

  35. Spud says:

    The poor Flintstones :-(

    Rationing? :-(

    Are there any nerds out there who can tell me why it is that we can create our own water using physicky methods? 8O

  36. Spud says:

    I meant can’t create our own water.

  37. Spud says:

    Just read your link! :evil:

    What about people with serious illnesses that affect circulation who need heating and would get gangrene without it? :-( Sweater my a**! :evil:

    As for rationing, that doesn’t bode well for people with allergies or other special requirements like athletes! :evil:

    Bleep me, I’m angry so am going to cook and eat my unrationed dinner! :evil:

  38. GN says:

    Actually having come back from Papeete 3 days ago I think your aunt has bigger problems. As you no doubt know, youth unemployment is truly chronic due to outer islanders moving their for secondary education and staying on hoping for non existant jobs afterwards- and subsequently family violence is rife from urban overcrowding. Who would have thought Rio type slums are forming in the South Pacific (outside the long established Tongan slums)? Well they are, saw them last week, corro iron shacks, pigs, filth etc. The whole island of Tahiti is sadly tagged with ugly graffiti, and crime has gone through the roof in the last two years. Large hotel chains are closing down and vacating. Anyone who can is moving to Moorea. Ask your aunt. Meantime heads talk in luxury resorts about climate change- That’s politicians I suppose.

  39. keep up the good work Charles, look forward to your updates.

  40. LabRat says:

    Spud – stop drinking if you really want to save the planet. Every time you burp a polar bear dies.

  41. Spud says:

    Drinking doesn’t make me burp! 8O BTW am drinking tonight :-D

    I do recycle :-D ! (Especially the empties :-D )

  42. BOTH sides of this equation will be having the science funded by vested interests. For example USA is still one of the biggest polluters, so they have a vested interest in certain industries of nay saying their pollutants cut cut down on compliance costs.

    This is not true, there are now over 250,000 scientists around the world either employed in climate science or related research, there is an incentive… Researchers funded by private industry are numbered about 1/350th of this and most skepticism comes from university funded scientists and unpaid bloggers…

    It about speed of change, yes climate change happens naturally and a definitive cycle is identifable over thousand of years of both warming and cooling.

    BUT Unless an astroid strikes or a number of large volcanic events occur (stuff that killed the dinosaurs) you would not get the speed of change that is occuring now naturally. The science of this solid.

    Ice core data going back 650,000 has definitely shown that rates of change are greatest in the ice age periods where changes of as much as 1.5 C per decade have occured (usually in an oscillating manner), if fact this data lead to the alarm bells people couldn’t believe things could change so quickly, when put in that perspective our rate of change of 0.7 C in the last century, when coming out of the little ice age (at the bottom when records began) doesn’t look so alarming… So rate of change is a point of contention and we aren’t in unprecedented territory…

  43. BJ Chippindale says:

    Attempting to sort out all the nonsense on this thread… and some of it is extremely absurd, is rather hard. Ought to have a side-by-side format for the arguments. Keep the threads together.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Starting with the most recent first:

    @Jeremy

    0.7 C in the last century is a measure smoothed over the last century using real measured temperatures.

    1.5 C per decade (claimed) is a measure smoothed over a decade using proxies… (and as you noted, oscillating).

    First. The time periods are an order of magnitude different. The results aren’t comparable. Finding 10 year periods recently… one can cherry pick (as is often done) to find rates of increase to suit

    Second. Measuring climate using time periods of less than 15 years using even our current data is not just not reasonable, it is not POSSIBLE, the noise component overwhelms the signal. THAT is well understood in climate science.

    Third. Whatever proxy was being used to back the assertion of 1.5 degrees per decade is unlikely to be as global in scope or as accurate as the actual temperature. Which is another way of saying that it is easier to find a number than to be sure it is right.

    Fourth. Using that same apples to oranges logic, we can see that in the transition to the holocene interglacial the temperature rose about 8 degrees over 5000 years or 0.016 per decade. while we are currently hitting on over 10 times that (This is no more significant than the first assessment).

    Fifth. The rate of change in CO2 in the atmosphere is about FIFTY times anything we’ve measured any time or any where in the paleoclimate. Even at the fastest rate of warming. That’s 500% faster.

    … the only way to get to rates of change like this is to hit the planet with a dinosaur killer or break open the earth’s crust like the Deccan traps. The only reason we aren’t already in trouble is that the planet surface is 4/5 water and the effects take a while to reach us.

    We’ve hit our climate with a sledgehammer of a step pulse, and it is going to ring like a bell, even if we stop hitting it. Hitting it some more won’t do us any good at all.

    No environment no economy folks. That’s not a threat, just an observation.

    Rationing is a bad idea? What are you going to do when you RUN OUT OF PLANETS! Something that is happening way faster than some here are willing (or able) to understand.

    http://www.watersfoundation.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.display&id=93

    BJ

  44. BJ Chippindale says:

    …and no… David Farrar has never been someone to trust about climate issues. He along with this government… both consistently put the economy ahead of the environment without accurate comprehension of the nature of either.

    BJ