Climate Change Just Got Personal

Over ten years ago (2007) I organised a symposium on climate change to support a Climate Change Tour being conducted by the Green Co-leaders at the time, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Russel Norman. It was Norman who fronted at the Invercargill meeting and he was supported by his young staff member Gareth Hughes. We had over 40 attendees, including representatives from local councils and a scientist from NIWA, who also spoke. For many of those attending, the information they received was largely new to them.

At that time the reality of climate change and its human causes were still being debated in homes around the country. Nothing substantial was really being done ten years ago, but the fifth Labour Government had passed the Climate Change Response Act in 2002 to provide a legal framework for ratifying the Kyoto agreement and to meet obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2008, just before the end of their term, the Labour Government established the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

When the National Government was elected later in 2008 there was an immediate change of direction. Many of National's Ministers did not believe in the human causes of climate change and the government dismantled the ETS to the extent that many major polluters actually began receiving a subsidy to pollute and were openly committing "climate fraud".  The National Government also stepped up New Zealand's investment in fossil fuels and encouraging the oil and coal industries to establish new mines and drill sites.

In 2013 the Government was still denying that any action was needed to address and prepare for climate change despite a severe drought and scientists predicting more. Under National, New Zealand experienced a decade of inaction and denial and we became the seventh worst in the developed world for emissions per capita.

My family has already experienced the reality of rising sea levels when our cottage in the Catlins had a metre of water flow through it in 2014. An off-shore storm and a tide higher than any in living memory did the damage and we expect more to come. While this damage was covered by insurance it is unlikely that a repeat event will be and the value of the property has diminished.

Invercargill usually expects around 1,150 mm of rain over a year, but in 2017 we received around 750mm, less than two thirds of a normal total. Last October Invercargill sweltered with a record breaking 25 degrees and since then we have been averaging in the 20s. Over the past week temperatures have pushed the mercury in our gauges to over 32 degrees, the hottest ever recorded for almost 100 years of data. The average high over the Summer months is normally only 18 degrees and anything over 20 degrees is celebrated. We are currently celebrating the occasional day under 20.

At 46 degrees latitude south, New Zealand's southern most city has regularly been experiencing similar temperatures to cities near the equator. When we were sizzling at 32 degrees, we equaled Cairns, were 2 degrees warmer than Jakarta and Suva and 6 above Nairobi. These cities are used to such temperatures and their ecosystems have adapted to it, it has been a severe shock to ours.

Although many in the South have enjoyed the hottest and most prolonged Summer ever, I am witnessing an environmental collapse in my precious 1/4 acre.

Despite all vents and doors being open, my little green house became a pressure cooker and the temperature gauge in it hit around 50 degrees causing my crop of grapes to brown and shrivel.

My lawn gave up its green some time ago and is browner than at any time in the twenty five years we have lived here. This may be common in Central Otago, but not Invercargill. We have only had 9mm of rain since the beginning of the year (we could expect 63mm on average).

I have been hand watering the vegetable garden and our flower beds most evenings and use mulch to retain moisture. However, I was shocked when over the past few days many of our trees and bushes produced evidence of stress and water deprivation. The leaves on our apples trees suddenly turned brown.

Our magnolia, fruit bushes, native shrubs and trees and even our large silver birch have all been badly affected. Some may never recover.

Obviously I am not a drought stricken farmer, whose economic survival is at stake, but this is the garden that I have invested 25 years into and have planted and nurtured many of these plants over that time. I have done my best to engender a greater awareness of climate change over many years and now that its effects have become super-personal I am very angry at those who I hold responsible. 

I am angry with the previous government that ignored advice and promoted fossil fuel madness instead (encouraging mining and drilling and spending billions on new motorways). I am angry with Fonterra for pursuing a high greed, intensification agenda that wasn't sustainable and was largely responsible for the huge increase in methane emissions. I am also angry at all those in the US who refused to vote responsibly and did not consider our children and grandchildren's future when they elected Donald Trump as President. The world's 2nd biggest polluting nation is now being led by an ignorant man who puts his country's coal industry before the future of the planet and my garden. I am angry that the oil and automotive industries, that are well represented amongst the richest companies in the world (and have been globally subsidised for many years), have spent millions in questioning the science on climate change. The oil industry influence on governments and public opinion has been the major factor behind the slow global response. The science has been clear for decades.

Mostly I am worried that we are too late and the climate change juggernaut has built up too great a head of steam to turn around. James Shaw, the new Minister for Climate Change, has a huge job ahead and we definitely don't want to tap into new fossil fuel resources in NZ when just using existing ones will help push us over the 2 degree danger zone. 


Dave Kennedy said…
What I describe in the post is likely to continue, one of the contributing factors for Invercargill's new weather patterns may be the rapidly rising sea temperatures:
Mack said…
The wreckage of your garden is weather not "climate change".
Here's some reading for you....
Amongst all of that,take particular note of this comment and link....
If you're still not au fait with the science explaining the lack of any "greenhouse effect"...
Hope you enjoy the reading,
Dave Kennedy said…
Sorry Grant, what you are linking to has no credibility and I have read them. You do realise that Wattsupwiththat is a site managed by the Fox News weather man. Rather than believing conspiracy theories and fringe and outlier science, I would rather trust the 100 years of peer reviewed science from institutions like the Royal Society and NASA. I think you need to widen your own reading and I would suggest this as a start:

Mack said…
Aahahahahaha Jimmy Hansen's book? ,sprout? the nutty fraudster, Hansen?, the "grandfather" of "Climate Change'.. . you know...flood the freeway, boil the oceans, coal trains of death?, Hansen?. The cunning, lying, trougher who chose a day in the middle of summer to give his 1988 testimony to congress...and saw to it that the air conditioners were turned off the night before..look at the surprise and disgust on the face of the young Roy Spencer sitting next to him, as this piece of shit commenced the whole AGW scam.
On the strength of all this, Dr Roy Spencer quit his job with honest scientist....that's the difference.
Paranormal said…
Grant you're wasting your time with followers of the new religion. They have faith they're right, or perhaps better yet here's an explanation of why logic won't hold any resonance here:

As for what's really happening with global warming, oops climate change, oh I mean extreme events:
Mack said…
"the new religion"
Yes, Paranormal...The believers of the new AGW religion are those who consider themselves too smart for religion.
Mack said…
Actually, that's a generalisation, it doesn't apply to everybody. :)
Dave Kennedy said…
Oh, dear a proliferation of deniers. A handful of outlier scientists questioning the mainstream climate research is hardly convincing.

The doubters fed by the nonsense funded by the fossil fuel industry are possibly a religion. I guess you also worship sexy coal like ex Minister Brownlee. I recommend that you divest of any shares in coal or oil or it will all in in tears. Even conservative institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary fund recommend not supporting the oil industry and recognise the reality of climate change.

I challenge you both to name one reputable scientific institution or governance body that still holds the same beliefs as you. If you can name two I would be very surprised ;-)

Mack said…
...reality of "climate change". Nah, sprout, the believers of "climate change' aka Anthropogenic Global Warming...are the loons who don't live in reality. They have total lack of perspective. They live in a fantasy land where they actually think they can alter the global temperature of this planet. It gives them significance.
"I challenge you both to name one reputable scientific institution or governance body that holds the same beliefs as you."
"beliefs"? There's another key misunderstanding and underestimation of us sceptics...You are the "believers" aka the massive groupthink. Science is either right or wrong,...there's no consensus or "belief" in science.
But you're right, sprout, there is not a "reputable scientific institution or governance body" that Paranormal or I can name who thinks AGW is a load of's because every "reputable scientific institution" on the planet collectively adheres to Kevin Trenberth's looney Earth Energy Budget Diagrams. Every "reputable scientific institution" has made the same mistake in "average" in the incoming solar radiation arriving at the Top of the Atmosphere (TOA)
Every "reputable scientific institute" on the planet needs to be told there's no "greenhouse effect", "greenhouse gases"'s the sun,stupid.
Paranormal said…
Here's a challenge BS, actually read the links I provided and tell me why they are wrong. At present you are behaving absolutely true to form, as described in both links.

You are the one who is in denial of how science works. Or at least how it worked before your religion decided computer models based on assumptions could trump actual science. Do you like what I did there?
Dave Kennedy said…
"Every "reputable scientific institution" has made the same mistake"

Says who? That is why your views are not credible. When you have champions like mad Lord Monckton, and Donald Trump it kind of sums it up.

Around 100 years of peer reviewed science may not be perfect but it is pretty close.

Mack said…

"Says who?"
Says me,sprout,..says me. You haven't read my links at all, have you?" You'd rather sit here, like a true believer, with your fingers in your ears and your eyes squeezed tightly shut. Maybe you should have a site that directly connects the links?...I dunno..are you entirely science illiterate?...what's the matter with you? You really need to stop arguing here...take a day or two off and make some effort to read my links. It's not hard...I've simplified the science down to the level a primary school kid can understand it.
But, I see you're a local that would probably explain it.

Mack said…
BTW... you may have sort of not twigged on to the fact that my internet name is, Mack. You can just Goggle..Mack Climate Sceptic...and see other stuff I've once again, Hope you enjoy the reading..Mack.
Dave Kennedy said…
Grant, I would be interested to know your education and background to understand why your views (from reading a few outlier scientists and denier blogs written by unqualified people) should carry so much weight. If I wanted to have a medical procedure done I generally go to see a GP and qualified surgeon, their capability is based on their professional knowledge that is informed by many years of medical research. Medical science is not perfect and there is alway more to learn, but it does tend do be generally sound. I am more like to have a positive outcome in a mainstream health system (properly funded) than relying on some unqualified back street quack.

Peer reviewed climate science, with over 100 years of research, is where I lay my trust and before I waste my time reading lengthy material I tend to check the credibility of the writer. Your links have a number of dodgy people who have no credibility and you shouldn't be blinded by fancy writing that sounds good if your own scientific background is limited. Lord Monckton has influenced many people with his eloquent nonsense.

Willis Eschenbach is one of your linked experts and his background is commercial fishing and construction, he is currently working as a carpenter. The site he often writes for is managed by Anthony Watts, a barely qualified TV and radio weather presenter and he in turn is funded by the Heartland Institute which is heavily supported by the oil industry. It is very easy to find this out. Most sceptic writers can be shown to have links to the Heartland Institute that used to get a good deal of its funding from ExxonMobil and tobacco company Philip Morris (the Institute has also questioned the science around the health impact of tobacco).

As I said before, I will take my lead from NASA and the long list of reputable science institutions that all support the fact that the climate change we are experiencing is largely man made and the our situation is a deteriorating one.

I Googled your name and it just came up with a few comments on other websites, perhaps you have some better links?
Paranormal said…
BS, I really recommend you open your mind and rat least ead the IPCC link I provided above. The science is never settled.

The thing is, scientists do science, politicians do consensus. You've made it very clear your understanding of climate change is based on politics not science.
Mack said…
I still get more evasive stuff and red herrings from you, sprout. I get doctors, Monckton, Anthony Watts, Willis Eshenbach, Heartland Institute, Exxon Mobil, Phillip Morris, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund,...even Gerry Brownlee ...every man and his dog excuse under the sun. Oh, you've forgotten the Pope!..Yeah,nah,sprout.,the Pope has this "science advisor", V. Ramanathan... favourite of the "Science of Doom",feeding your AGW bullshit into his shell like.
You're asking about my education and background...well you can gradually easily find some of that out if you READ my links....but in any event, my education and background is irrelevant to the CORRECT science.
"...waste my time reading lengthy material..."
No, I agree with you, sprout, you don't have to read lengthy can find out in just one little simple thread right here on the internet...right here...
This first comment contains 3 links...but don't panic, nil desperandum, the 3 links only goes to 3 short conversations of mine....easily understood, even by a politician.
Billy Connolly reminds us..."The mere fact that you aspire to be a politician, should preclude you from being one".
Dave Kennedy said…
I think we will have to agree to disagree, Paranormal and Grant. I am not a scientist and therefore I am reliant on searching for what should logically be the most reliable sources of information. It is illogical to put weight on the views of individuals or institutions funded by businesses reliant on the extraction and use of fossil fuels. Many of the AGW sceptic scientists used early on like Fred Singer were also used by tobacco companies to questions the health concerns of Tobacco smoke.

Paranormal is right when he says that science is never settled, but when the majority of research and evidence supports one theory we would be foolish to ignore it, so i don't.

It is sad, Grant, that you won't share your background so that I can see what life experience has given you the ability to judge why we shouldn't trust mainstream science.

I can see why the Pope trusted Veerabhadran Ramanathan as he is a highly capable, award winning scientist, widely respected in the science community.

Interestingly one of your own links that you provided gave an insight into your thinking and understanding as this is a comment following one of yours:

"So stop your spamming Mack as it does you no good what-so-ever in the eyes of intelligent silent readers, especially those with a background in physics. Go find a friend with qualifications in physics and get him to review you comments before you post such errors again – and again."

Thanks for inadvertently revealing that ;-)
Mack said…
Yes,sprout, thanking you for allowing me to speak freely on your blog.
BTW. that comment was from Doug Cotton...Cotton has been entirely banished from every climate blog on the internet...not one sceptic blog will allow him to make any comments. A big kerfuffle with a whole posting by poor Dr Roy Spencer about him, who had him shouting at!.blah blah blah... And of course no alarmist blogs will have him.
In some respects,Doug Cotton is a little bit like you,sprout...there are some people you could waterboard in the fount of knowledge, but they still wouldn't drink.
Paranormal said…
BTW BS why didn't you water your garden?
Dave Kennedy said…
It sounds as though Doug Cotton was trying to speak reason in places where it isn't accepted ;-)

Paranormal, read my post, I did water my garden. Much of it is thriving but it is the large bushes and trees, that have never needed support in the past, that have recently suffered. I am watering them more at the moment, some will recover but some may not. We had very little rain in November and December and it is now Jan 21 and we have only the occasional light shower and a total of 9mm for the month. Given the fact that water is generally in short supply I focused on the food production and some of the flower garden.

Paranormal said…
We are also having unusual weather in Taupo. Our lawn is growing like mad, at a time I normally don't need to mow. All around us is Spring Green rather than the normal summer brown.

It's all due to the La Nina pattern that brings hot tropical air and rain down from around the Coral Sea.

Yes it is unusual in that it doesn't happen every year, but it is something that happens regularly.

You'll note in the article that there are more easterlies, and that is what is bringing the hotter drier weather to your area.

If you ever find proof there s a direct link to humans burning fossil fuels and the Southern Oscillation, something that has been happening for centuries, then I might believe your tales og AGW, Climate Change, or whatever it is called now.
Dave Kennedy said…
I do understand the La Nina effect (or the El Niño-Southern Oscillation) but it is climate change that is behind the much increased temperatures. Climate change has also greatly increased sea temperatures and this is another influence on Invercargill's weather.

Now that it is established that you and Grant do not accept the climate science coming from all the the major science institutions, it is pointless for me to attempt to change your minority views. However others may be interested in this link to the Scientific American where the effects of El Nino are explained as only a partial cause for increased temperatures:

I also accept that there is not complete agreement amongst climate scientists, some think that the human race will not exist in 10 years because of climate change (an outlier view at the opposite end from your scientists):

A more conservative view would still give us hope, only the rate of change is much faster than predictions:

I must admit denial is less stressful, but I do care about my kids' futures and facing the realities.

Paranormal said…
Wonderful BS, but you've still not actually got the point. We still don't know what causes either an El Nino or La Nina to occur. If we don't know what causes them, how can we 'know' they're driven by climate change. All the rest is just bunkum.

Can't you see they're downplaying the global impact of the Southern Oscillation as it doesn't suit their agenda?

I'm also surprised you can't see through the alarmism of your so called scientist drivel. Here's just two examples from your article:
"For now, 2016 still stands as the hottest year of all time.." We know it was warmer in both the Roman and Minoan periods - alarmist and extremely untrue language to agitate politically and nothing to do with science. No scientist with a shred of scientific integrity would talk that way.

"But at least 90 percent of 2016's warming was caused by human activity.." proof where is it? Someone who is dependent on Global Warming grants opinion just doesn't cut it.

Then again you're not interested in the science - its the politics that drives you isn't it.

But on to more important things, I do hope your trees survive.
Mack said…
Sprout sends us off to some Scientific American article..."2017 ranked among three hottest years ever"
This "hottest year evah.., in NZ" is the data fiddled tripe espoused by the lying, trougher, James Renwick..the high priest of NZ's fake news propaganda of "climate change" I notice this AGW brainwashed,academic clown,is getting more and more hysterical on twitter.
He's the main player in the looney left's mad hatter's tea today, hot tommorrow, but never hot yesterday.

Dave Kennedy said…
Paranormal, it is the science that informs me. The science that is supported by 97% of climate scientists, all major science institutions and now most Governments. Donald Trump (who gets all his info from fox news apparently) is the only significant leader who is a denier.

It is you and Grant who have rejected mainstream science and have decided that you know better, and yet neither of you are prepared to share what personal qualifications allow you to make such judgments. The warm periods during Roman times did occur, but what you claim regarding the extent of the warming is not considered as something that was globally consistent as is occurring now:

Grant, you have completely lost me with your nonsensical emotive language and personal attacks.

This comment thread is becoming a little tedious.

Dennis Horne said…
Interesting narrative. Scientists warned us global warming would cause climate change.

Of course we see climate change as a change in the weather. It's no longer withing the range we expect, over, say a generation or lifetime.

The simple fact is the intractable deniers spouting nonsense are mad and that's all there is to say. There is no hope for them. No help. No treatment.
Dave Kennedy said…
Agreed, Dennis. When deniers stand against science, logic, commonsense and the physical realities that abound, one must consign them to the the shelf that includes those that believe that tobacco causes no harm, homosexuality can be cured and the Earth is flat.

It is reassuring to know that the most conservative institutions in the world like the IMF and the World Bank are now on the side of the planet and that the Heartland Institute's annual climate denier conferences are struggling for attendees. Apparently keynote speakers scientist Fred Singer (93 years old) and Don Easterbrook (82) are is no longer the major draw cards they once were.

Paranormal said…
When warmists resort to ad-hominem attacks, stand against science, logic, commonsense and the physical realities, that abound, one must consign them to the the shelf that includes those that believe the earth is flat and those that believe there will be a second coming a week Thursday.

There you go guys, fixed it for you.
Dave Kennedy said…
In your mind, Paranormal ;-)

It seems that the sceptics numbers have been dwindling for some time:

The biggest recent boost has obviously come from President Donald Trump who is "like, really smart" and I'm guessing you agree ;-)

Paranormal said…
Sadly you can't see what I'm saying. Your social construct blocks your ability to even view, let alone consider, alternative possibilities. Please read my first link above to see what that might mean:

Why do you think individuals who are interested in LOGIC, FACTS, and SCIENCE didn't turn up to a POLITICAL event?

Donald Trump is not really my cup of tea. However I am coming to realise he's a whole lot smarter than many of his opponents. That's why I'm sure now that he will be a two term president. That is if some nutter doesn't assassinate him.
Paranormal said…

What is happening - single digit temperatures in Southland in February in a Global Warmening World?

Hmmm, maybe, just maybe, we really don't know all there is to know about weather, let alone climate?

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