Climate Losing to Partisan Politics

The news event of the moment is whether Peter Dunn really did leak confidential information or did he just momentarily let his guard down because of the attentions of a young female journalist. While politicians and journalists are falling over themselves to take advantage of the situation or catch the next piece of juicy gossip, worrying stuff is happening elsewhere.


Extreme flooding has hit central Europe effecting Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. Flood waters four times higher than normal have resulted in many deaths and tens of thousands having to leave their homes. People have described unusual tropical weather during a period that is normally very dry.



A series of devastating tornadoes are wrecking havoc through the central US only days after dozens were killed by a massive twister in Oklahoma.

The past year has seen multiple weather records:
  • Jerusalem saw more snow fall than over a decade and heavy rain saw flooding in parts of the Middle East.
  • The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported the hottest temperatures ever recorded and had to invent a new colour for the weather maps to accommodate temperatures over 50 degrees celsius.
  • China recorded its coldest Winter in decades with temperatures regularly below -40. 
  • In the first week of January Northern India suffered extreme cold causing the deaths of over a hundred people.
  • Southern Brazil and Northern Argentina experienced temperatures amongst the hottest ever recorded.
  • New Zealand experienced one of our worst ever droughts and farmers are being advised to begin expecting such events as "the new normal".
  • 2012 was declared as the wettest Britain has experienced since records began.
The volatility of the world's weather has seen events that were once considered as something occurring every hundred years happening several times over the past decade. The climate change that scientists have been warning about is actually being experienced ahead of predictions. With carbon levels in our atmosphere passing 400 ppm in May, we are now well past the 350 ppm that was assessed to be the safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point. 

Despite the scientific evidence and the physical realities of the dangerous situation we are in, most world governments are still supporting the fossil fuel industry that is causing most of the atmospheric damage. One of the worst Governments is our own. We have now abandoned Kyoto, made the ETS totally ineffective, allowed cheap carbon units into the country and are actively creating new coal mines and subsidising oil exploration.

Kennedy Graham is resolutely questioning the Government's policies around climate change and continues to get a similar answer: why should we sacrifice our economy when other countries pollute more than us? The fact that we have one of the worst levels of emissions per capita is conveniently ignored. Kennedy has even presented a strong economic argument to show that the effects of climate change is actually costing economies far more than the measures that would mitigate it, but to no avail.

Kennedy convened a conference on climate change last Friday (7 June) where he had invited leading scientists, farmers, politicians, foresters and business people. This was a well attended and informative conference and yet National MPs refused to attend. Kennedy was disappointed at their attitude and had the view that because Climate Change is a global ecological crisis, it is far more important than petty partisan politics.

Bob McKibben, founder of 350.org is currently touring New Zealand with his documentary "Do the Math" where he demonstrates that the numbers that describe our current situation can't be ignored. This is a not to be missed event if you really care about our future:

    Auckland – Tuesday, 11 June, Epsom Girls Grammar School Hall, 7-8.30pm
    Dunedin – Wednesday, 12 June, venue tbc
    Wellington – Thursday, 13 June, The Embassy Theatre, 7-8.30pm

Many smaller centres are setting up video links or showing the documentary and I will be attending the Invercargill showing tomorrow evening.

Comments

David R said…
We do have a lot of sideshows in our government. Unfortunately, while the Jesters are performing, the Dirty Work's Brigade, previously credited with protection of the environment, is hard at work during the distraction. The selling of the National real-estate for 40 pieces of silver, and the extracted coal smashing our reputation as clean and green.
bsprout said…
Agreed, David, Crony Capitalism combined with coal, kills our environmental credibility!
Paranormal said…
Despite scientific evidence showing there has been no global warming for 17 years and serious questions raised over the validity of crony research, some political extremists persist in pursuing their agenda.
bsprout said…
Paranormal, your so called "political extremists" are actually mainstream. Australia even has a Minister responsible for climate change.

Here is a quote from a supposed "extremist", one President Obama:
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."

And from another "extremist", one David Cameron (isn't he a Prime Minister or something?):
"Over the past 12 months, we've seen the devastation that unchecked climate change could bring – floods in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia, mudslides in China. And yet over the same 12 months we've seen a growing despondency about international efforts to protect our planet. Copenhagen was a disappointment for everyone who cares about climate change."

Even John Key has stated that climate change is real, he is just dragging his heels on acting on that knowledge.
bsprout said…
And something else to deal with the odd idea that there is no global warming: http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/all-time-heat-records-broken-in-alaska-heat-wave-to-continue-16131

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