Thursday 31 December 2015

A heatwave at the North Pole and New Zealand politics

Arctic to hit 50 degrees hotter than average this week – no one told the North Pole about the ‘successful’ Paris Talks
Beyond the self congratulatory crap spouted by some NGOs and Green movements over the supposed ‘success’ of the Paris talks, something deeply disturbing will happen to the Arctic this week…

Martyn Bradbury

30 December, 2015


Beyond the self congratulatory crap spouted by some NGOs and Green movements over the supposed ‘success’ of the Paris talks, something deeply disturbing will happen to the Arctic this week
The sun has not risen above the North Pole since mid-September. The sea ice—flat, landlike, windswept, and stretching as far as the eye can see—has been bathed in darkness for months.
But later this week, something extraordinary will happen: Air temperatures at the Earth’s most northernly region, in the middle of winter, will rise above freezing for only the second time on record.
On Wednesday, the same storm system that last week spun up deadly tornadoes in the American southeast will burst into the far north, centering over Iceland. It will bring strong winds and pressure as low as is typically seen during hurricanes.
That low pressure will suck air out of the planet’s middle latitudes and send it rushing to the Arctic. And so on Wednesday, the North Pole will likely see temperatures of about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius. That’s 50 degrees hotter than average: It’s usually 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero there at this time of year.

50 degrees hotter than average. Just think about that for a moment – the Arctic will be hit this week by a storm that will bring heat 50 degrees hotter than usual. The simple truth is that the Planet is on the verge of feedback loops that simply can’t stop the warming.
We need to be on a war footing to prevent this and look for radical change so we can adapt to the changing climate fast enough. A report in 5 years to record the weasel word promises is like a band aid on a decapitation.
Meanwhile a climate minimiser like Government propagandist David Farrar admits temperatures are climbing while a climate denier like Cameron Slater still claims it’s all a great big hoax perpetrated by Greenpeace. When the debate is locked between right wing hate bloggers who are still arguing why the Planet is warming and delusional environmental advocacy groups who think the spineless response in Paris is somehow a success,  we will gain no real traction to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Ultimately I believe the Greens and their pro-market framework with their Coke-Cola consultant leader is simply not the best vehicle for change – there needs to be a radical green socialism to provide the solutions because if the Paris talks are really the best we can get – then we are doomed.

Rather than praising the Paris climate agreement as an 'incredible achievement', James Shaw and the Green Party should be denouncing it as a failure and a fraud. 

14 December, 2015

GIVEN THE MISGUIDED IDEOLOGICAL BELIEF of the Green Party that somehow capitalism can be the saviour of our planet rather than its destroyer, it came as no surprise that co-leader James Shaw should wax lyrical over the Paris climate agreement.

If you look to the horizon now, you can see little James tugging desperately on the chain of the capitalist beast as it drags him - and the rest of us - to the abyss of environmental disaster.

'Stay calm and don't panic!' cries out little James. 'There is a green capitalism! I know what I'm doing!"

There’s no doubt this is an historic moment,' Shaw says in his prepared media statement.'“It’s not a perfect deal by any means and there are lots of details to work out but it’s frankly an incredible achievement.”

Putting aside the obvious fact that the purpose of this conference was to work out the details of an agreement, why is it an 'incredible achievement?' According to Shaw and the Green Party its because it 'commits' the countries of the world – including New Zealand – "to bring their domestic policies in line with a goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C."

But it does nothing of the sort. Shaw should not be knocking back champagne in Paris and congratulating the conference for a job well done, but condemning this agreement for consigning the world to an increase in global warning of 3-4 celsius. That's estimate of Naomi Klein, who - unlike Shaw - knows what she's talking about.

Despite what Shaw claims, this agreement commits the countries of the world, including New Zealand, to nothing.

Pablo Solon: Paris agreement is 'a farce, a sham'.
All the participants have done is promise to lower their carbon emissions, there is nothing that binds any government to changing their domestic polices in order to lower global warming. They might claim this is the goal, but there's no program for achieving it. Everything's 'aspirational'.

The former Bolivian ambassador and climate change negotiator Pablo Solón has displayed the kind of hard nosed realism and honesty not displayed by James Shaw. He has described the agreement as 'a farce, a sham'.

Says Solon: "The COP is a summit of schizophrenic governments because they say they want to reduce emissions but they don’t mention the source of emissions–which is fossil fuel extraction and deforestation. A coherent way to address this would be to establish a limit of extraction of fossil fuels and an immediate end to deforestation. If these two measures are not adopted, how are we going to reduce emissions? Magic? Impossible.”

The figures are also suspect, to say the least, although James Shaw and the Green Party have swallowed them, hook, line and sinker. Says Shaw: '“What Paris has shown is that the world is moving only in one direction, and that is towards a low-carbon future. Countries like the US and China are at the forefront of that shift. New Zealand needs to catch up.”

Shaw is badly wrong again. China says it will cut its emissions only in terms of carbon intensity. But as Jamie Neale points out:

"Carbon intensity is the amount of carbon in fossil fuels that is needed to produce the same amount of work. Carbon intensity has been going down in the United States for a hundred years. It is going down all over the world. This is because we learn to use coal, oil and gas more efficiently, just like we learn to use everything else in industry more productively. So a promise to cut carbon intensity is a promise to increase emissions."

If you want to learn more about how the figures have been juggled and massaged, Jonathan Neale is worth reading here.

To defend this empty agreement as a 'first step' to real change, as the Green's Julie Anne Genter did on Paul Henry this morning, is simply unacceptable. The future of the planet is at stake and to defend an agreement like this makes Genter and the Green Party complicit in a massive fraud being foisted on us all.

The Green Party should be listening to people like Pablo Solon: "The Paris Agreement repeats old mistakes and will fail. The answer lies in a self-organized, self-conscious and empowered humanity that believes in itself and nature more than in technology and market forces."

James Shaw says that “If there’s ever a time to stop making excuses, it’s now.” I agree. James Shaw and the Green Party should stop defending and making excuses for this agreement. They should stop doing it now.

I find it very telling that leading climate scientist James E Hansen can refer to COP 21 as a ’ Fraud’ and James Shaw describe it as a historic achievement, wtf, cognitive dissonance or denial?

Here is the email from James Shaw and Kevin Hester's reply and the coverage of this issue on Extinction Radio

From: James Shaw []
Sent: Friday, 18 December 2015 2:18 a.m.

Subject: RE: Termination of my membership in the Green party of Aotearoa.

Dear Kevin,

We are sorry you decided to leave the party and that you so strongly disagree with my comments that the signing of an agreement at COP21 was a positive achievement.

By signing up to the Paris Agreement goal limiting global warming to 1.5oC, which wasn’t even an option before COP21 started, countries are now obliged to start taking action consistent with that goal.

We’ve also been very critical of the National Government in the last few days. Their comments that the Agreement means that nothing more is required of New Zealand is clearly wrong, as our own domestic policy settings are the equivalent of a 3.5-3.8oC temperature rise.

My view is that it is an enormous achievement to get 196 countries to agree on anything (the first time it’s been done since the founding of the UN, with the possible exception of the Montreal Protocol) and that it is better to have an agreement to act on climate change than to continue not to have one. The result would have been far, far worse, had we not come to the Paris Agreement (estimates suggest that, absent the Paris Agreement, we would be on track for a 4.5-5.5o C temperature increase).

It is a very weak agreement – as any agreement would be that had to include the states that currently rely on fossil fuels for their income – but we have to make it work. It is our only hope.

The Agreement itself will be reviewed every five years, with an initial assessment of the science and the policy settings needed to maintain 1.5o C in 2018 by the IPCC. This is the all-important ‘ratchet mechanism’ for tightening the screws over time. Will it be enough, or fast enough, to save Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and others? I hope so. That’s why I used the quotation of Churchill’s that, “this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

After 21 years of negotiations to get a global agreement, we have one but we are well aware that the harder work starts now.

Once again we’re sorry to see you leave, but we wish you all the best. And you’d be welcome back anytime.

Warm regards,


James Shaw MP, Co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
14.14 Bowen House, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
+64 4 817 6769 | |

Authorised by James Shaw, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Here is Kevin's reponse:

Hi James, thanks for taking the time to address my leaving the party.

I’d like to make it clear that this was not a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction taken in the heat of the moment of the Cop (out) 21 agreement being signed.

I have been considering this decision for a very long time and the ‘tipping point’ for me was the fact that you didn’t adequately qualify how bad and terminal for most complex life-forms on this planet the ‘agreement’ is. I was shocked how ill prepared your press statement sounded and that it completely understated the severity of our predicament and how little the agreement will contribute to slowing down this disaster, in fact it will have little or no positive effect and more critical time will be lost.

After Copenhagen and Kyoto’s abject failure it was recognised that having some kind of agreement was imperative in Paris. That has been achieved but effectively it is an agreement for mostly business as usual with non- binding emission reductions and little or no consideration for the fact that we are now in a time of abrupt climate change and we will witness an exponential, non-linear unravelling of our biosphere.

I accept having 1.5 C as an aspiration included was a huge victory but it is in fact little more than a feel good factor when our trajectory is towards and beyond the IPCC worst case scenario of 6C when you factor in the exponential nature of where we are now, the ten to forty year lag in cause and effect and the unleashing of numerous tipping points. I note you said in your email to me “countries are now obliged to start taking action consistent with that goal.”, they aren’t obliged to anything, encouraged yes, obliged no.

There are thousands of fires currently burning in Indonesia that are emitting more carbon than the USA, it is the equivalent of having a new # 2 emitter appear on the planet out of the blue, this is what we can expect going forward with the next major ‘cab off the rank’ being the exponential increase in discharge of methane from the permafrost and the ocean clathrates. I note that the eco-terrorist John Key has approved deep sea drilling in regions that have proven methane deposits that are already discharging, the cognitive dissonance shown is stupefying ! In the PETM extinction event this heated the planet up 5C in a mere 13 years, scientists previously thought this had taken thousands of years. We could conceivably be in a parallel window to that now . The consequences of that will be the extinction of most if not all complex life-forms and the meltdowns of 438 nuclear power stations and 1000 spent fuel pool fires which incidentally will be far worse than the melt downs! If your reaction to that scenario is that it sounds alarmist please remember the reactionary Winston Churchill was considered an alarmist in 1937 and 8 brutal years later over 50 million people were dead.

I recently interviewed Dr Jim Salinger who conceded in a public meeting I attended in Hamilton that we are in abrupt climate change. Jim is a wonderful guy but his conclusions are very conservative in line with his profession and he admitted to being hopeful when there is zero visible reason and under the precautionary principle we should all be preparing for the worst as is my training as a yachtmaster with 16 ocean passages completed, mostly in our dying Pacific.
My interview with Jim is here;

I understand that my position is a ‘hard sell’ for a political party trying to gain electoral success but this catastrophe presents an opportunity for the Greens to position themselves for a sea change that is definitely coming in the public’s mind. We will see more and more extreme weather events in the weeks and months ahead which will freak out the populace world- wide, I believe the Greens are missing a golden opportunity to be a leader not only in NZ but globally. I believe the party’s narrative needs to be radically altered to reflect the seriousness of the situation.

Very soon we will have a few billion very, very angry young people on this planet when they realise the ecological legacy we have left them. Speaking truth to the youth is more important now than it has ever been and presents you as the leader of the party, an absolutely golden opportunity to make a huge impact not just here but on the global stage. There is a paradigm shift unfolding on this planet, I challenge you to grasp this opportunity and lead.

All of the dire assumptions I allude to above are in embedded links in this post from the Daily Blog, I only post the link to make it easy for you to source it should you want clarification.

The purpose of me going public was not to bag the party but to stimulate a debate that wasn’t happening. My feedback from both members and non- members of the party has been much more positive than I ever expected and indicates that I have addressed an issue that has been praying on many people’s minds, mission partially accomplished. You have generously left the door open for me to return to the party which I might consider if my concerns were addressed and there was a sea change in the party’s narrative. I spend my life trying to raise awareness of the severity of this predicament and any vehicle open to me will be grasped willingly as long as I can address the predicament honestly and transparently, I am in the fortunate position of being beholding to no one.

I had lunch with Pearl Going and Susi Newborn yesterday, Pearl spoke very highly of you and suggested you and I should meet personally sometime, I’m available if you wish to do so.

Best regards, Kia Kaha.

Kevin Hester

Starts at 04'.48"

1 comment:

  1. just what we need, people who at least do understand climate change and don't think it is either (a) not happening, (b) not anthropogenic, or (c) part of un agenda 21 to take over the world arguing with each other and splitting into different factions


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