Planetary Ecology

Climate Commission is cleared for takeoff: James Renwick talks ice, snow, and climate action

Robert McLachlan Feb 10, 2020

James Renwick is Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria University of Wellington. He studied at Canterbury and the University of Washington and has worked on diverse aspects of climate science, including global atmospheric circulation and Antarctic sea ice. In December 2019 he was appointed to the New Zealand Climate Change Commission, which will recommend carbon budgets and mitigation strategies to … Read More

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A multitude of drops: Social tipping points in climate action

Robert McLachlan Jan 24, 2020

If you’re here, you probably know that the climate crisis is upon us, that it’s getting steadily worse, and that attempts to address it haven’t worked yet. People are still driving and even advertising SUVs with impunity, and oil companies are exploring like crazy, even in New Zealand. Politically, socially, economically, it’s a challenging problem. In Social tipping dynamics … Read More

Should I ditch my fossil-fueled car?

Robert McLachlan Jan 09, 2020

Yes. Reducing the number of cars in your household, or switching from petrol/diesel to electric, will dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the easiest and highest-impact climate steps you can take. New Zealand is being flooded with cars The New Zealand vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly. In the five years 2012-2017,  1,420,000 vehicles were imported and 660,000 … Read More

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CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you

Robert McLachlan Dec 07, 2019

On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because in both cases, it’s just empty words. And the politics … Read More

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On the road to Net Zero, the next step is to update our UN pledge

Robert McLachlan Nov 18, 2019

A lot has happened since the UN’s report on 1.5ºC was released in October 2018. New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill has passed, and enshrines the 1.5ºC goal in law. The UK and France have also legally strengthened their targets to Net Zero 2050. The School Strike For Climate and Extinction Rebellion have become household names. But progress on the ground … Read More

Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law

Robert McLachlan Nov 12, 2019

Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt the whole #zerocarbonbill thing. Page 15?? … Read More

Collins crushes climate

Robert McLachlan Oct 15, 2019

An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified by the New Zealand Government, of which Judith … Read More

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Fly less, Kiwis!

Robert McLachlan Sep 05, 2019

Something’s happening here: Climate crisis: ‘We don’t fly to go on holiday now – and it doesn’t cost the earth’ (The Guardian, 10 August 2019) No-fly zone: Could you give up flying if it meant protecting the planet? (Adventure.com, 21 August 2019) Travel the world without destroying it (The Conversation, 22 August 2019) Harry and Meghan … Read More

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