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Posts Tagged green growth

Seven keys to green growth in NZ: Pure Advantage’s new economic analysis Gareth Renowden Nov 17

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Last week business lobby group Pure Advantage launched [Herald, Stuff] a specially commissioned report, Green Growth: Opportunities for New Zealand, which presents, they say, “an exhaustive, objective economic argument for embracing green growth”. The report was produced by a London-based economics consultancy in conjunction with the University of Auckland Business School, and is the culmination of two years work to identify the most effective ways of implementing green growth business strategies in NZ.

Launching the report, Pure Advantage (PA) chairman Rob Morrison said:

We firmly believe on the basis of this significant macroeconomic report that New Zealand has the potential to generate billions of dollars in new high-value economic growth, whilst at the same time improving New Zealand’s environmental performance.

Morrison said that PA intends to use the report as “a basis to establish, in consultation with industry, seven industry-specific green growth programmes”. The seven key ‘advantages’ are (links go to PA web explanations):

  1. Home Advantage: Retrofitting an efficient building environment;
  2. Geothermal Advantage: Creating a significant geothermal export industry
  3. Agricultural Advantage:
    Investing in sustainable and efficient agricultural technologies
  4. Waste-to-Energy Advantage: Installing bio-energy and waste-to-energy infrastructure
  5. Biofuel Advantage: Establishing a woody mass biofuel and bio-products industry
  6. Smart Grid Advantage: Installing the building blocks of a smart grid
  7. Biodiversity Advantage: Establishing a world-class biodiversity driven ecotourism and conservation education programme.

PA note that the report was “not driven by environmental idealism or fear of climate change”, yet the recommendations look a lot like the sort of joined up thinking on environment and emissions policy that has been so lacking from the present government. By making the business case for green growth, perhaps PA can start a bottom-up change of economic direction that will do for NZ what the government will not. It’s certainly a worthwhile effort, but while there are other lobby groups out there promoting rampant population growth as the way to stop economic decline, it will continue to be an uphill struggle.

Indonesian President promotes “sustainable growth with equity” Bryan Walker Jun 19

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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gave an impressive speech at the Centre for International Forestry Research last week. How his words translate into the political life of his country I don’t know, but it is hard to fault them as an analysis of the world’s current challenges and a pointer to the direction in which we must move.   Not many political leaders take the time to stand back and present such a coherent and complete understanding of what is happening to human societies and the natural environment on which they depend. The speech is worth reading in full, but I’ll extract some of the salient points here.

His theme was sustainable growth with equity.

“What are our choices ?

“We can choose to continue to exhaust the present course, the same course that has been in place for decades and centuries. A world where we obsessively chase after economic growth without regard for ethics or the environment.  A world of excessive exploitation of resources, and insatiable consumerism.  A world driven by “greed” rather than “need”.

“If we go down this path, we will only find more of the same.  It will lead us to more environmental degradation.  More deforestation.  More pollution.  More global warming.  More endangered species.  More conflict between man and nature.  And ultimately, more desperation for the human race.”

He notes the increasing prosperity of developing countries and the dangers of the spread of the excessive consumption habit.

“We need a new way of looking at the world, and a new way to work the world.

“Now is the time to promote ‘sustainable growth with equity’.  Many refer to sustainable development with equity as ‘development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs’.

“Equity is critical because it is about fairness.  It is about justice.  Without equity, we end up with restlessness and anxiety.  Without equity, we end up with marginalisation.  Without equity, we end up with hopelessness and without a sense of shared destiny.”

He embraces the environmental dimension of sustainable growth:

“A key part of sustainable growth with equity is recognising that the serious climate and environmental problems that planet Earth faces are not imagined – it is REAL.  Climate change is man-made, and its solutions are also man-made…

“To be sure, we cannot achieve ‘sustainable growth with equity’ without addressing climate change.  They are two sides of the same coin.  In Indonesia, many of our islands and their inhabitants are already threatened by sea level rise.  And rising temperatures and extreme weather patterns have already affected crop yields, a phenomenon that is expected to continue in the years to come.  This is, of course, happening throughout the Asia Pacific. “

At this point he introduces the all-important question of sustainable forestry, “critical to our efforts at sustainable development as well as to our climate mitigation efforts”.

“Our forests cover 69 percent of Indonesia’s land area and 31 percent of the global land. They hold a massive number of biodiversity that needs to be sustained.  As a mega-diverse country, we have about 12 percent of the world’s mammals, 16 percent of the world’s reptiles and amphibians, 17 percent of the world’s birds, 25 percent of fish species, and over 38,000 of plant species.  We consider this God-given rich biodiversity as enormous national treasures.”

He acknowledges that serious deforestation had taken place in the 1970s and 1980s in the interests of development. “It seemed the logical thing to do back then.”

“Today, such a policy is no longer tenable.  Losing our tropical rain forests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster.  That’s why Indonesia has reversed course by committing to sustainable forestry.

“…I am pleased to inform that our deforestation rate has declined from 3.5 million hectares per year to less than half a million hectares per year in a decade period.

“I am also heartened by the progress of the One Billion Indonesia Trees for the World (OBIT) program.  I am pleased to inform you that in the past two years we have planted some 3.2 billion trees – not 3.2 million, but 3.2 BILLION trees.”

He speaks of his government’s development strategy as having expanded since the Bali conference in 2007 to be “not just pro-growth, pro-poor and pro-jobs, but also pro-environment.  Today, environmental sustainability is at the heart of all long-term development plans, both at the national and local levels”.

Some very interesting remarks follow on the importance of political will.

“In all this, political will was crucial and remains crucial.  It was not always easy to environmentally sound policies.  But it was necessary, and it was the right thing to do.  So we pushed hard at it despite some resistance.

“Why is political will important?

“Because in most cases, the solutions are actually simple, but they are hard to achieve.  Reduce emissions. Consume less. Shift to renewables.  Conserve forests.  Save energy.  Share technology.  Take global action.

“These prescriptions are all known to us. They are part of the global conscience. They are supported by public opinion. But too often the solutions become stuck in narrow self-interests, short-sighted politics and rigid diplomacy – or a combination of them.”

On the matter of international agreement to reduce emissions he points to the need for developed countries to take the lead, but adds that developing countries should also do more. He refers to Indonesia’s aim to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020 and up to 41 percent with international assistance, and expresses his hope for the sustainable development agenda post-Rio + 20.

“Let’s take responsibility for the future of human race and for mother earth.  All citizens of the world.  Developed and emerging and developing nations.  International and regional organizations. Private sectors.  Environmentalist.  All stake-holders.”

Rhetoric is easier for a political leader than action. But words do matter and seemed to me striking that the leader of a major developing nation should choose to speak in these terms. There’s a directness and lack of prevarication which would come across with some force to the public. It was encouraging to think that the ideas he explores have currency in Asian society. It’s doubtful that they would be expressed by the present New Zealand government leadership. I notice the Prime Minister in a Listener interview this week with Guyon Espiner mentioned Indonesia’s 250 million people as drinking two drops of milk per person per day. “Imagine if they had half a glass. It would be more than all of what Fonterra produces.”  Perhaps we could trade some milk for some ideas and a dash of political will.

Pure Advantage’s strong central message Bryan Walker Jun 16

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Simon Johnson, in his recent Hot Topic post, challenged the failure of Pure Advantage’s  report New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race to highlight the importance of putting a price on carbon, and Duncan Stewart offered a robust response. It’s not my purpose in this post to pursue that topic, but rather to dwell on the strong central message of the document — that New Zealand has a much brighter economic future as a green growth economy than as one stuck with the fossil fuel dependance we remain reluctant to address. The report considers government action is necessary to drive the change, but at the same time sadly recognises that the government is currently stuck in a different and inadequate strategy which is hindering advance.

Just how much we are failing to measure up to our proclaimed green image is revealed in the sobering reality check the report performs on various economic fronts.

From the climate change perspective there are a number of serious shortfalls. Our energy supply is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. About 60% of our total energy comes from fuels such as coal, oil and gas. 40% is imported, mostly in the form of oil. And we’re not moving in the right direction. The proportion of energy derived from renewable sources is declining. In 1975 renewable energy accounted for 90% of electricity generation in New Zealand. By 2010, despite recent gains, the figure was down to 76%. Neither Labour nor National-led governments have faced up squarely to the issue.

Our greenhouse gas emissions are the fifth highest per capita in the OECD. Emissions have increased 23% since 1990; most other countries in the OECD managed to reduce per capita emissions. New Zealand will overtake the US in terms of per capita emissions in fewer than eight years. The report recognises that our emissions have a unique profile because of the high relative proportion of emissions from agriculture and doesn’t suggest that mitigation of that source will be easy.

But it’s rightly less sympathetic when it comes to the transport sector:

Between 1990 and 2006, total transport emissions increased by a shocking 64%. About 40% of carbon dioxide emissions come from road transport, equivalent to about 20% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

New Zealand lags far behind other OECD countries in policies and measures to improve the energy efficiency and emissions reduction of the national transport fleet. Two of the biggest problems are low fuel excise taxes (and low use of road charging to capture external costs more fully) and inadequate public transport infrastructure.

We have one of the lowest user rates of public transport in the world, with only 2.5% of trips made by public transport. Moreover public transport infrastructure funding in New Zealand will be cut from an already low 1.8% of the current land transport budget to 0.7% by 2021.

We’re also laggards on energy efficient housing. New Zealand’s housing stock is notoriously difficult to heat due to poor insulation and the very rare use of double-glazing. Our housing efficiency equates to where the Scandinavians were in the 1960s. We’ve made some progress in that since the building code review new houses now consume 30% less energy than houses built to the old code. But we’re well behind the passivhaus or zero carbon standards adopted by other countries.

Extensive land use change for which we’re paying the cost in the form of higher carbon emissions is another cause for concern. In addition, erosion, nutrient leaching, and loss of biodiversity are all associated with changes in land use. New Zealand forestry is characterised by low levels of new planting.

Issues less directly related to climate change but of crucial importance also figure in the litany of environmental failure. Water is one. The Yale University Water Quality Index ranks New Zealand 43rd out of 132 countries with a score of 40.3 out of 100 for ecosystem vitality for freshwater. High nitrate levels in water have come with the intensification of dairy farming.

On biodiversity issues the report acknowledges some progress on threatened species but notes that 77% of New Zealand’s threatened species still lack targeted recovery work and will most likely continue to decline in numbers due to a lack of resources needed to support protection measures. It considers much more explicit direction is needed.

In the face of all these contradictions of our green image the report explores a number of directions in which green business growth can both remedy some of the deficiencies and open up new profitable directions for the economy which will give better substance to our Pure brand. The list includes bioenergy, energy efficiency in buildings, more sustainable agriculture, geothermal technology, water management technology, liquid biofuel production, smart grid development, well-managed aquaculture, and biodiversity protection. Electric vehicles are also a significant part of the mix, and the report includes this enticement:

New Zealand’s renewable electricity generation has, according to our Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, enough spare capacity in the national grid during off-peak times to recharge all New Zealand’s cars if they were to be replaced by electric models. This is a major opportunity to reduce our dependency on imported oil.

But much depends on a strategic willingness by government to induce change. There’s not much sign of that. The Government’s current growth agenda includes a determination to expand the exploitation of natural resources, such as coal and oil. These are largely considered ‘dirty industries’, as they involve unsustainable extraction of finite resources, large scale industrial production and high emissions intensity.

It’s not only environmental issues that arise from this: the economy can be seriously distorted too. One only needs to look at the difficulties that Australia faces. The development of the ‘two-speed’ economy – one based upon dirty commodities and one based upon the rest – has undermined Australia’s value-added manufacturing exports

The tone of the searching questions the report puts to the Government over the growth path it has chosen may be sweetly reasonable, but there’s underlying steel:

  • Which criteria were used to conclude that further investment in dirty industry is the best long-term strategic outcome for New Zealand? Were these criteria solely economic or did they include purposeful consideration of local, regional and global environmental issues and obligations? Did the economic evaluation include the cost of path dependency and the consideration of the possible need for retrenchment of these industries in future?
  • Which low carbon or green growth options were considered and on what basis were they excluded?
  • What is the difference between New Zealand’s ‘must have’ requirement for oil and mineral extraction and the point at which the country is simply exploiting the resource because it is available?
  • Is the greening of dirty activities sufficient to maintain a 100% Pure status? Is it sufficient for New Zealand to be green at some things but not green at others?

These questions have a business edge but they also bear directly on climate change concern. They expose the short-sightedness of a government complacent even in the face of the fearful consequences of climate change and in spite of the promise that accompanies a green economy. Pure Advantage does well to ask them, but it’s not surprising that their report sees little likelihood of serious government investment in green growth in the foreseeable future, albeit recognising that a few steps have been taken. They place their main hope in the leadership of industry, “as it has the largest financial imperative and the greatest ability to invest”. The most they hope from government is that in due course it may prove willing to follow along, to remove policy roadblocks and provide incentives.

Pure Advantage is focused on galvanising industry. Let’s hope that the green growth strategy that it will be elaborating in subsequent reports succeeds in doing that. Industry may yet put backbone into government.

Pure Advantage: green growth is bigger than just carbon Gareth Renowden Jun 15

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Duncan Stewart manages the Pure Advantage programme and in this personal guest post addresses Simon Johnson’s criticism earlier this week that the new green growth report, New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race, fails to take carbon emissions reductions as seriously as necessary. Duncan is a director of investment and advisory firm The Greenhouse, an executive director of environmental compliance software company CS-VUE, and a board member of New Zealand’s electric vehicle association APEV.

The report is “good in parts” eh…? Well partly thank you. The headline provides some insight into your analytical approach; focus on carbon and dismiss the other environmental issues. OK, but in doing so you may have missed the point. NZ’s environmental performance is characterised by many different metrics — greenhouse gas emissions are just one of them. It’s certainly an important one, but no one is going to argue that the loss of native biodiversity is less important, or that methane trumps water quality.

These issues are all interconnected and need to be dealt with through a systemic change in the way we value and manage our natural capital.

Will the ETS fix declining water quality? I doubt it.

Will it provide healthier homes for kiwis? Probably not.

Therefore if clean/green New Zealand is an aggregate of a range of environmental performance metrics, it makes sense for Pure Advantage to identify and focus upon all of the key problem areas. The appropriate green growth solutions may be quite different for each, which is why it makes sense to use a cluster model to deliver these (or butterflies emerging from a chrysalis — whatever is easier to understand). Crosscutting issues such as education also need to be applied to address problems collectively.

What the Green Race document has done is highlight multiple performance failures, rather than do what so much of what the historic green debate in NZ has done, which is default to using a single environmental issue as a proxy for a range of environmental issues. The historic approach enables the government to point to a single initiative like the ETS and say, ‘see we care about the environment, we built a shiny new emissions trading scheme’. The fact the ETS doesn’t work is beside the point.

So, Point 1: green growth is bigger than just carbon. 

A Market Ornament

The role of a market instrument is to change economic behaviour. In our public submission to the ETS review, we said:

“If the NZ ETS is meant to materially alter behaviour in New Zealand by encouraging the development of alternative energy, greater energy efficiency and a significant and demonstrable reduction in emissions, then it is not clear that it will succeed. If, on the other hand, the NZ ETS is meant to be largely symbolic and part of New Zealand’s superficial green branding, then it is largely fulfilling that goal.”

This statement alone makes our position on the performance of the ETS clear. Your argument that Pure Advantage is not being transparent on carbon pricing is unfounded. 

Will dialling up the price of carbon and including all sector scheme participants change behaviour? Absolutely.

Will government do this? No.

Will Pure Advantage repeating our ETS position make a difference to government’s lack of willingness to act? No.

But what would happen if Pure Advantage were to encourage industry to take the initiative and change their behaviour in the absence of a strong carbon price (i.e. ‘reality’)?

Well, for one thing you get a win by actually decreasing emissions rather than talking about it, and, secondly, you’ve then got a marketplace which is actually more capable and willing to accept said carbon price and a government that feels more comfortable about dictating that price. I guess this underlines the very practical approach Pure Advantage is taking.

Last week I chaired a meeting in Rotorua, which included key players in the woody mass biofuel and bio-products industries. It was the first time the value chain from forestry, technology, distribution and end use had got in the same room for a korero. Hallelujah they even agreed to play nicely with one another, share information and have a formal workshop with a view to strategy development. Is this example of Pure Advantage practically supporting low-carbon industry coordination an equally valid approach to putting a price on carbon? I argue yes. 

Does it need to happen anyway? Yes. 

So Point 2: Yes, absolutely put an effective price on carbon. But don’t dismiss the requirement for industry to also develop and coordinate its own solutions, especially as this will further serve to politically de-risk effective pricing.

Answers to your direct questions
  • Do they recognise the economic point that decarbonising must involve carbon pricing? Yes. Do you realise industry coordination is also part of effective decarbonisation?
  • Do they accept that the NZETS is an ineffective carbon price scheme? Yes, as publicly stated.
  • If yes to both these questions, why don’t they show leadership and stand publicly for what they believe in? OK, we’ll personally fund and launch a charitable green growth campaign, then undertake world-leading low carbon research, develop a detailed strategy and issue a partly good report to tell businesses and politicians about it… 

And yes, Pure Advantage is well aware of Hansen’s advice. We helped to arrange and fund his visit to New Zealand. I sat on the steering group that offered The Climate Show an opportunity to interview him. He stayed at my house.

Perhaps Pure Advantage is guilty of not explaining itself clearly enough in the document in relation to the NZ ETS. But there is no shadowy carbon agenda — if you don’t believe me then talk to NZ’s largest environmental watchdogs — it’s no picnic convincing Greenpeace and WWF that a group of business people are genuinely working to address a suite of green issues. Then talk to industry groups like HERA and NERI — they support us too. Even Labour said they would be prepared to work on a bipartisan basis for green growth.

Finally sounds like a season of change, Mr. February.

Support for greening the economy Bryan Walker Sep 26

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It’s been interesting to see some NZ Herald articles bearing on the Green Party’s ’100,000 green jobs’ policy which I discussed a few days ago.

John Armstrong shared my view that the Green’s jobs policy deserved more than the “ritualistic slagging” offered by John Key and Steven Joyce.

National might still claim the Greens do not understand economics. The purpose of yesterday’s policy release was to demonstrate the Greens do understand – and are deadly serious about remedying the economy’s structural weaknesses, though not in a fashion National would favour.

And today, rather surprisingly, appeared an editorial under the heading ’Greens’ policy on energy to be applauded’.  The editorial is hardly an enthusiastic endorsement of the policy, but it does recognise that, particularly in the area of geothermal energy, diversification overseas to areas of strong demand is an attractive revenue option.

In conclusion it recognises, after caveats, that there may be economic benefit in the kind of greening of the economy the policy envisages:

At the very least, however, they have delivered a scenario that exploits this country’s environmental credentials and technological expertise. For that, they should receive some credit.

The article that most gained my attention was a short report by journalist Peter Huck. It doesn’t refer to the Greens’ policy, but it does emphasise the economic opportunities in renewable energy which the Greens are pushing. It instances a 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers report which suggested an export industry producing $7.5 billion to $22 billion annually, growing by 4.5 per cent each year.  It notes criticism that the Government is tardy with R&D investment and is missing the chance to diversify our narrow economy by supporting renewables at home and in developing economies.

We wouldn’t need a big share of the international market to make a very good return:

The International Energy Agency predicts that tackling climate change will generate US$27 trillion in renewables demand by 2050 in developing economies alone.

Local lobby group Pure Advantage, which advocates a low-carbon future for New Zealand, reckons the global market is worth $1 trillion a year.

But we’re facing in the wrong direction:

Yet, in a nation blessed with renewable energy sources, the Government’s Energy Strategy favours marine oil and gas reserves.

“I don’t think it’s logical that we can increase investment in fossil fuel extraction and not damage our clean, green brand,” says Pure Advantage’s chairman Rob Morrison. “And there will be economic consequences if we do damage the brand. We can only be a bit player in terms of fossil fuel extraction. We can be an absolute leader in terms of clean and green solutions.”

Take geothermal, an area where New Zealand seems well-placed to export know-how. China has earmarked $15.4 billion for geothermal energy, and SinOpec Group, the Chinese energy giant, has signed a five-year deal with Iceland to develop Inner Mongolian resources.

“We need to export clean and green solutions,” Morrison says.

It’s worth keeping in touch with the Pure Advantage website and offering them support. They’re a group of business leaders who advocate the competitive advantage of green growth. Here’s their reasoning:

Because green growth is worth $6 trillion per year world-wide. More than defence. More than aerospace. New Zealand’s green reputation gives us a head start in this business. Shame we’re not really in the race.

We’re a primary producer with a big carbon footprint and a cavalier, she’ll-be-right attitude to our environment, and what its degradation means to brand New Zealand.

We’re eroding our 100% Pure image, and putting our crucial tourism and export industries at risk.

We need to break out of our short-sighted commodity attitude and embrace our competitive advantage in being green.

It’s time to walk the talk. Investigate the data on what motivates New Zealand to go green growth, and where the risks lie in running business as usual.

We know all too well where the risks lie in business as usual. So far as climate change is concerned they are enormous, as is already beginning to be apparent. But business as usual will fight to continue. Pater Huck has another much longer Herald article which is well worth reading in which he chronicles the global fightback of fossil fuel interests against renewables. It’s a skewed conflict while fossil fuel industries are left ’uncoupled from the cost of carbon emissions’. The status quo, he mildly concludes, looks well overdue for a reality check.

Dismissing Greens’ plan out of hand not justified Bryan Walker Sep 22

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The immediate government reaction to the Greens’ announcement yesterday of their ’100,000 green jobs’ policy was to defend the economic status quo.

The Prime Minister John Key:

“They are talking about putting enormous taxes on New Zealand that would send a lot of businesses bankrupt.”

Transport Minister Steven Joyce weighed in:

“What they’re proposing is to add lots of costs, add lots of taxes and then magically, supposedly, all the jobs would be in place.”

The Greens’ proposals for raising the money to fund the green jobs initiative include a capital gains tax, a temporary levy on income to fund the rebuilding of Christchurch, a cutback on new motorway spending, and a toughening up of the generous subsidies offered by the ETS in its current form. I presume these are the costs and taxes that so alarm Key and Joyce.

It’s not my purpose to engage with or support the detail of the Greens’ revenue-raising proposals, but the green-jobs economy that they are advocating (booklet here) is surely along the right lines. It doesn’t seem that the PM and Minister of Transport see better ways of getting there, but rather that they want things to stay as they are.

The first item in the Greens’ package includes support for energy conservation measures by expanding the Heat Smart home insulation project costing $350 million and employing 4,000 people directly – 10,400 if indirect and upstream employment effects are included.  It is increasingly clear that energy conservation is an easily achieved and very substantial measure in the battle to preserve the climate. The fact that it is job-intensive is an added bonus. Here’s just one example from the 2008 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world

’The most impressive building project to date is the German Alliance for Work and the Environment, a retrofitting program serving 342,000 apartments as of March 2006. From 2001—2004, this project was responsible for creating 25,000 jobs and saving an existing 116,000. In 2006, an estimated 145,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs were attributed to this building retrofit program as a result of increased levels of public-private spending.’

The second, and largest, item in the package is gearing up renewable energy towards a major export industry of renewable technology. It’s a booming global market and a mere 1% share would mean an annual $6-$8 billion return. The Greens see New Zealand particularly well placed for this, with considerable experience already in producing renewable energy and managing associated grid systems. Partnerships between publicly-owned energy companies and the numerous clean technology entrepreneurs in the private sector will be facilitated to provide energy solutions. There are 250 companies and organisations already involved in researching, developing, and commercialising clean technologies in New Zealand. They need expertise and capital, such as that which could be provided by the energy companies, in order to get their products from concept to export market. Government will play its role by setting a 100% renewable electricity generation target for 2030, increasing government expenditure on research and development by $1 billion over three years, and creating investment certainty by putting a fair price on carbon.  This is the big one for employment, an estimated 47,000 to 65,000 new jobs in high value-added manufacturing. The UNEP report provides plenty of evidence that this is not unrealistic.

The policy statement also gives attention to assistance in the greening of small to medium-sized  enterprises in New Zealand and a variety of other measures including a paid conservation corps, which I won’t elaborate on here.

From the perspective of facing the challenge of climate change what is welcome about the policy is that it envisages a substantial greening of the economy and says that it will be good for business and jobs. That’s the sort of positive affirmation we need to hear much more strongly and clearly from political parties of all hues. The government response to the Greens’ package has so far been to declare that it would ruin the economy. Whereas trumpeting the benefits of coal and lignite mining, deep sea oil drilling, fracking for natural gas, and possible methane hydrate tapping is beneficial to the economy? If that is what Government thinks they clearly have not faced up to the reality of climate change, and an economy which fails to do that will truly put us on the road to ruin.

The Climate Show #16: Keith Hunter on oceans, acids and the carbon cycle Gareth Renowden Jul 15

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We learned a lot this week, as Professor Keith Hunter of the University of Otago, one of the world’s leading ocean chemists, gave us a masterclass on ocean acidification and what it means for the future of the oceans. Plus we discuss Australia’s new carbon tax, green growth campaigns in New Zealand, why China’s aerosols may have been doing us a favour and why cleaning them up might unleash more warming, and climate models having trouble with rapid climate events. On the solutions front we look at a tiny electric aeroplane setting a new speed record and a solar initiative in NZ. No John Cook in this show, but he’ll be back soon.

Watch The Climate Show on our Youtube channel, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, listen to us via Stitcher on your smartphone or listen direct/download from the link below the fold…

Follow The Climate Show at The Climate Show web site, and on Facebook and Twitter.

The Climate Show

News & commentary: [0:03:25]

Australia bites the carbon bullet.

Going for Green Growth in NZ

Pure Advantage campaign launched

Green Growth Advisory Group launches discussion document

China’s power stations generate ‘future spike’ in global warming The paper referred to is Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998—2008 by Robert K. Kaufmann et al, pdf here.

State-of-the-art climate models are largely untested against actual occurrences of abrupt change. It is a huge leap of faith to assume that simulations of the coming century with these models will provide reliable warning of sudden, catastrophic events.

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n7/full/ngeo1200.html

Al Gore is back: Gore’s Climate Reality project announced it would kick off with a 24-hour live streamed event on 14 September. The day’s events will include a new multimedia presentation by Gore that will “connect the dots” between extreme weather events and climate change, a statement said.

http://climaterealityproject.org/

Interview: Professor Keith Hunter of the University of Otago. [0:30:00]

Professor Keith Hunter is New Zealand’s leading scientist in the field of marine and freshwater chemistry. His research interests include the effects of trace metals, both essential and toxic, on the growth of phytoplankton; the marine chemistry of the major greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide and marine surfaces (air-water, sediment-water). He directs the joint NIWA-University of Otago Centre of Excellence for Chemical and Physical Oceanography based in the Department of Chemistry, and is involved in several PGSF-funded research programmes.

Skeptical Science series on ocean acidification: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mackie_OA_not_OK_post_0.html

Solutions [01:10:30]

Councils asked to go solar in ‘The Solar Promise’ nationwide campaign launched this week:

http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/latest-news/july-2011/councils-asked-to-go-solar-in-the-solar-promise-nationwide-campaign-launched-today

http://www.solarpromise.org.nz/

Tiny electric airplane sets speed record

http://www.ecogeek.org/ecogeeks/3550-tiny-electric-airplane-sets-speed-record

Thanks to our media partners: Celsias.co.nz, Scoop and KiwiFM.

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.

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