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Kevin Rudd says Australia is now heading in reverse, falling behind most developed countries, and even China, on reducing emissions and building resilience against climate change

Kevin Rudd says Australia is now heading in reverse, falling behind most developed countries, and even China, on reducing emissions and building resilience against climate change

Few countries have such a fundamental interest in addressing climate change as Australia. Yet Australia’s current conservative government refuses to take necessary actions in response to climate science: to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and therefore play its part as a responsible member of the international community. Instead, we Australians are now free-riding on the rest of the world.

The Australian government is not listening to the international business community, despite the fact that investors responsible for $2.4 trillion in assets recently pledged to move to carbon-neutral portfolios by 2050. It is also out of step with Australia’s military leadership, which recognizes the threat to global security from climate change, as well as the increasing strain caused by constant disaster-relief missions in the region. And it is showing disrespect for the public, especially young people, many of whom are beginning to dread the world they will inherit.

According to Australia’s national scientific body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, our climate has already warmed by 1°C since 1910. Our mid-year rainfall has declined by 20% since the 1970s in some parts of the country. Our farmers face droughts that are 20% longer, prolonging and intensifying bushfire seasons. The economic cost of natural disasters is already enormous: $182 billion in the decade to 2016, according to Deloitte Access Economics. And sea levels are projected to rise by almost one meter (39.4 inches) by 2100, threatening 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) of coastal road and rail infrastructure. Natural disasters don’t only take lives, destroy homes, and ruin livelihoods. They also close ports, sap insurance pools, devastate food production, and blow up government budgets.

Conversely, the transition to a cleaner future, if managed well, could be an economic boon for Australia. Our vast natural-gas resources represent a cleaner option for making the transition from coal and oil. There is enormous potential for solar-power generation across our vast, sunshine-drenched land, and the costs of solar are coming down. The same goes for wind energy, owing to our long coastline and sprawling interior. And our scientists, researchers, and renewable-energy entrepreneurs are brimming with exportable expertise.

Rather than reduce emissions, Australia has expanded its national carbon footprint by an average of 1% per year since my government left office in 2013. Indeed, we are on track for an 8% increase (from 2005 levels) by 2030. By contrast, the World Resources Institute predicts that almost 60 countries accounting for more than 60% of global emissions, including China, will have already reached peak emissions by that time. This fact alone demolishes the claim routinely used by Australian conservatives that Australia should not act because China has not.

The national emissions target adopted by Australia’s conservative government back in 2015 calls for a 26-28% reduction by 2030; but it was based on deception. The government of then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott chose it because it mirrored US President Barack Obama’s projection of a 26-28% reduction in US emissions by 2025. Abbott falsely claimed his target was “the same as the United States,” when he knew full well that Obama’s target represented a much larger cut of 41% if pushed out to 2030. Abbott was aided by the complicit, climate-denialist Rupert Murdoch-owned media, which reinforced the lie.

Despite this already debased target, Australia’s current conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison, is now relying on a dubious accounting trick to reach this goal, by using so-called “carryover credits” to bank Australia’s “overachievement” under the Kyoto Protocol, much of which occurred under my government.

So, what could more responsible Australian governments have brought to the table? Here are five concrete ideas.

First, Australia could have pledged a proper review of its 2015 climate target, one that accorded with the spirit and substance of the Paris agreement. If the government’s much-vaunted new hydro-power scheme (Snowy Hydro 2.0) is really as promising as it says, raising our national ambitions should be no problem.

Second, Australia could have dumped the two-card monte with the unused Kyoto credits. This flimflam is loathed by our Pacific neighbors, and is now being used by other countries to attack Australia on the world stage.

Third, Australia could have laid out a timeline for a long-term decarbonization strategy, as the Paris agreement invites us to do. This work should already be well advanced, given that the government has promised it next year.

Fourth, as part of that strategy, Australia could have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and then worked backwards from there. The United Kingdom and New Zealand have already done this, as have 60 other countries and three Australian states.

Finally, we could have followed the lead of the UK, France, and others in offering to replenish the Green Climate Fund, rather than repackaging old pledges, which puts the burden on needy countries by making them apply directly to us rather than to a single global source.

Sadly, Australia’s government did none of these things. Instead, it has been shutting its eyes while our farmers struggle, the Great Barrier Reef bleaches away, and more ferocious natural disasters claim our people’s lives.

Australia’s opposition, the Labor Party, is now formally reviewing its climate policies after its election loss last May. Despite the fulminations of the far right and the faux left, this introspection is entirely normal. The far right has no interest in climate action at all; and the Green Party of the faux left has always made the perfect the enemy of the good. And no one in Australia will ever forget that the Green Party joined ranks with the conservatives to defeat my government’s emissions-trading-scheme legislation in the Senate. Had they not done so, Australia would have already had a carbon price for a decade, and would be that much closer to a low-carbon future.

Australians deserve better than this. So does the next generation. And so, too, does the world.

*Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister of Australia, is President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2019, and published here with permission.

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Mr. Rudd, respectfully, this was the climate change election. The Australian electorate rejected the doomsday cult. The coalition has no mandate to implement your wishlist of policies - Labor ran on them and was rejected.

Long may sanity prevail.

Good article...hopefully the next election some more intelligent poitiicians will come in. God won't keep the rain falling if that's their hope.

... emissions are up a little . .. boat people smuggling is down a lot .... Australians seem to be happier after Kevin was ruddy well thrown out . ..

Use NZ as a net zero carbon country by 2050 as a template to aim for if you wish to destroy large chunks of your economy ... mining and agriculture just for starters ...

If your 'economy' was based on extractive activities, then it was in trouble anyway.

GBH, have you seen the state of the Australian economy lately? They are getting desperate to keep the property market propped up (bit like here mind you). They'll need to face that coal has no long term future.

They also have major long term issues in the apartment construction industry going back a couple of decades. They are facing their version of our leaky building fiasco.

RollingOn, Just because Australia voted for a climate denying, or rather climate change policy pretending, govt, doesn't mean the voters are right. Murdoch media has a big impact on public opinion in Australia too, as Rudd mentioned. Sounds to me you'd prefer to be living in Australia rather than NZ by the way?

"The Murdoch Media" is more than cancelled out by the ABC's bias and individual journalists who are overwhelmingly left-wing.

Why would I rather live in Australia? This country is great, and I intend to fight to keep it that way.

You need to double check your perceived percentage of Murdoch-controlled media vs ABC there. Just cos you say it, doesn’t make it so. I lived their for 15 years. There’s more right-leaning than left, especially TV news.

How much of this is being used for political control.

If the climate situation is so dramatic why do these commentators still buy coastal properties?

It used to be Global Warming but they seem to have changed it now to Climate Change.
When you have young people demonstrating in the street because they can get a day off school it has gone past the ridiculous.
Most people demonstrating are hypocrites and wouldn’t have a clue what they are marching for!
Can the educated on please list all these things that they have noticed due to this Climate Change .

" Climate Change Emergency ! " .... ha haaa haaaa ... these extremists are great fakers and marketers ... cue Greta to come out and start shrieking at us at .... heeee heeee


Still the old white men angry about a 16 year old female....sad really. When will you get over yourselves?

He's scared. Let him off gently.


... tins of beans ... Check ! ... matches and candles ... Check ! ... tin foil hats . .. Check !

Nope , nothing to be scared of , hunkering down , all provisioned : Climate Change !!! .. I'm ready ..

Man, imagine how horrible it would be if we addressed the global pollution and emissions problem and slowed the Anthropocene extinction of species...

I horrible if we stopped polluting at the scale we do, and we stopped driving so many species extinct...and like, we could have made a little bit more profit to spend on iPhones and investment properties and the like instead. What a terrible thing we would have done to pass on to following generations!

I can see why curmudgeonly men are so outraged at the prospect that young people have raised!

I think (our) young people are smart!
Went to a great 21st the other day.

Rick, so some say the world is going to end in a decade or so!
What is the answer then?
These protesters just go along with others for the sheer hell of it most of the time, without ever having an answer for anything.
I live in Christchurch and sorry haven’t noticed any rise in temperature over the past few years at all.
Since coming back from Europe, quite the opposite really.

This is a nice rant but doesn't actually address anything I said in my comment, so I guess I'll leave it at that.

Rick he does after all live in Christchurch so I am hardly suprised he has not noticed a temperature increase. There is a good reason why so many people live in Auckland and in the rest of the golden triangle and why so few actually live in Christchurch.

Ready boss!
We got the emergency fuel drums for the ute.

Quick question, how are we going to run the ev car when the powers down (and your scooter!)
We got nothing to store power with? Not invented yet!

Or run the generator.
Shaking, but nothing's happening!

... supporting Greta here , the Gummster's going on a Climate Change Blogging Strike !

Not coming back to till it's fixed... they've stolen my blogginghood ... the bastards ... shame on them ...

A bit of racism, sexism and agism is par for the course for the Doomsday Cultists.

Trust me, the Book of Revelation is a more entertaining version of the End of Days.

I think you'll find most are pretty positive about how to change the world for the better, with renewable energy, innovative clean technologies, and sustainable business practices. Why not head towards that, rather than polluting industrial-age business as usual. The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones. Why take the risk that all these scientists are actually correct, and the right-wing shock jocks and Trump-style politicians are not?

Aaaah..... The Industrial age. Listened to a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson where he mentions that our educational system is still based on that introduced 100 plus years ago. Creativity is killed in schools as our children are taught to think and reason in a formatted way so they can all be churned out at the end with a set of exams.

Yeah I laugh at how everyone defends their rights to exploit to exploit a mentally unstable teenager. Go ahead, tell me how it's such a fantastic thing to do. No global warming for 20 years, the same 20 years in which 35% of all total 'manmade' C02 has been emitted. Clearly there are some big problems with the climate crisis theory.

This is the rare occasion I would agree with TM2. Global warming was a hoax set out by the political elites and their business mates to steal public money through taxation and funding these new green business. Al gore is your prime example of using this scam to further his networth and now we have that greta doing her rounds for her family. There are some legit science in some parts of climate science but I am afraid it had been hijacked by the left to enact their cultural maxism social engineering policies.

I am all for further funding into climate science to further our understanding in our place in on this planet and beyond but drawing a quick conclusion and enacting public policies just to achieve some political ideology is just wrong.

The Man 2 - What I noticed was the big fat $1,000,000 amount from our carbon credits in a jointly owned 600 acre forest in Hawkes Bay. Really cool actually as they were planted in 1995 before carbon credits were invented !! Actually to be accurate we sold half of our credits for $500,000 and are sitting on the other half just incase they increase further, you know school kids might get a day off and protest to bring more awareness which might boost the price !! What a con end to end !

Yes we could have better environmental management. However, climate has and always will change.

I'm more concerned with an asteroidal impact putting us back to the stone age.
The last major cataclysm, I'm aware of, occurred at the end of the last ice age.

No one talks about this risk.

... the current major cataclysm is " Married at First Sight " . . if an asteroid saves us from ' reality TV ' I'm all for it ...

Humans "are" the asteroid impact and are erupting and exhausting themselves back to the stone age. No need for wishing on a star.

You sound like a Malthusian.

I suppose, I once grew bacteria in a petri dish as an experiment at high school, observed the population and made conclusions.

Yes, everything - everywhere behaves exactly bacteria in a petri dish. If I want to know anything I just look in a petri dish - case closed!

not much difference at a galactic level - hot rock - brown smudge

"However, climate has and always will change."

This is the first time a global civilization has existed when the climate was changing this rapidly. The climate change is also being driven by the collective actions of that global civilization. That's the difference.

There are other kinds of pollutions that are real and tangible like plastic, chemical waste and heavy metal compounds dumped into rivers and ocean that will destabilise eco systems that will not be good for us. But the whole CO2 green house theory is just hoax that will not end the world. Climate alarmist had been predicting dooms day climate apocalypses since the 1950's and not one happened. Saving our environment from real threat yes, while being exploited by the political elites to further their cultural maxism???? Big no!!!

Oz, instead of Exporting all of its Uranium, could easily convert the 80+% of black and brown coal power generation that's currently (sorry) keeping the lights on and the skyscrapers running (baseload is around 18Gw), to nuclear generation, over a transition period.

But of course they cannot do That, because Reasons.

Hey, don't you know you're not allowed to invoke scientifically accurate, commercially viable or logically sound statements in a political argument. And you're bringing them all into it!

The evidence for any sort of genuine danger from the current warming trend is extremely weak, a big fat zero compared to ~0.05% of population that dies yearly due to effects of cold during northern European winters. But I support the transition from fossil fuels to Nuclear and PV power because PV is already cheaper, and in the case of Nuclear it can be developed to be cheaper than fossil fuels. EVs will also be cheaper to buy than petrol cars within 10 years given predictable learning curves. And Australia has opportunity to turn export of PV electricity to Asia into a big business. If you care about getting off fossil fuels then invest in R&D for cheaper low-waste fast breeder nuclear reactors - they are a permanent solution to powering human civilization, and can (economically and forever) be powered by uranium extracted from seawater.

Nuclear absolutely needs to happen more, agree. Shame it got deprioritised after earlier scares / incidents.

Installing solar panels kills and maimes.

Then there’s the fact that we don’t like being made to feel bad about our life choices. That’s human nature. It’s why we sneer at vegans. It’s why we’re suspicious of sober people at parties. And if anything is likely to make you feel bad about your life choices -- as you jet back home after your third Pacific Island minibreak this season – it’ll be the sight of small-boned child subjecting herself to a fortnight being tossed about on the Atlantic, with only a bucket bearing a “Poo Only Please” sign by way of luxury, in order to make a point about climate change

Well as long as her entire crew are able to fly home after the trip, I think it is a very worthy statement. 4 People flying instead of one, you can't make this up.

You dont know much about yachts and sailing crews do you? Why would they fly home..just because that's what you would do? Cant make this up.

The climate is only being altered by our exhaust-gases. The fact that we've become so big a factor in the planet's chemistry that our exhaust should be having a discernible impact, should ring alarm bells everywhere.

For a start, there is no replacement for the quantity of energy we currently use on a daily basis. Waymad's oft-proposed techno-fixes all only do electricity, some are finite-resource-requiring and all are of lower EROEI than fossil energy.

Essentially, we have become an overshot species, ecologically - what Catton called 'Homo Colossus'. Too much impact, so will collapse. The continued avoidance must presumably be fear-driven (understandable) but it puts off making the best moves we can make, which is sad.

Rudd's self-aggrandisement doesn't assist the piece, either. He is stil part of an unsustainable process.


The climate is primarily being altered by the sun ... if you volunteer to head up there and put it out , I'll back you all the way ....

I thought you were on strike?

... can't just jump into it cold . . Need to warm up to the task .... wheres that frigging global warming when you need it ... me blogging finger is icey ...

Pretty sure we corrected this mistaken idea last time you posted it.

It's completely wrong. This is actually NOT born out by temperature change and solar activity data:

More useful info on what has effectively been proven at this point:

What climate science has effectively proved at this point is a bit more nuanced, along the lines of:

(1) We observe that radiation from sun to earth has been overall steady or very slightly decreasing over the past five decades, yet the amount of energy reflected from Earth back to space has been decreasing over that same period. In other words, we’re seeing clear evidence that our atmosphere is becoming more insulating, decade after decade. This change (less and less energy getting from Earth into space) is very clearly increasing every decade, at least since the beginning of the space age.

(2) Regarding the cause of this increasingly insulating atmosphere, a careful look at the space- and ground-based radiation spectra directly shows the increasing influence of carbon dioxide. For example, outgoing radiation (Earth to space) is decreasing especially at CO2 absorption wavelengths. It is an undeniable fact that we are witnessing an increasing “greenhouse effect” due to increasing CO2.

(3) Regarding the source of the increasing CO2, nearly all of the recently added and continually rising CO2 in our atmosphere has the isotopic signature of burned fossil fuels (as opposed to e.g., volcanoes). This is totally consistent with our collective emissions of about 40 billion tonnes of CO2 gas per year (and rising), which is way more than what all volcanoes emit (around 0.3-2% of that amount).

So, even though climate has changed naturally in the past and will continue to change in the future (with or without humans), the present day surge in CO2 in our atmosphere (about 40 billion tonnes added from burning fossil fuels per year) is, right now, causing a measurable and accelerating reduction in the amount of heat leaving our planet. The fact that this change is measurable over a single human lifetime is mindblowing. It’s a blink of an eye in geological terms.

I’m sure there are many flaws in future climate modelling (no time to get into that ...), but the basic idea, that more CO2 in our atmosphere = more insulating atmosphere, is a fact. Short of the outside influence of some insanely rare event like a civilization-ending asteroid impact, we have every reason to think that adding more CO2 will increase the already-significant effect.


Quite a few vocal climate change deniers on this site's comments. Sad to see, I thought we'd moved past that in NZ and are just getting on with how to practically deal with it. The current Australia and US govts are laggards on climate change policy, I hope we don't take backwards steps to join them. Transport and agriculture are our biggest challenges in NZ of course.

. . bloggers here are a lot smarter than that ... many of us accept climate change ... and accept that the climate changes continuously with or without human input ... always has , and always will ...

The climate of our planet is not static .


hmmm who to believe? Experts in their field or anonymous internet posters?

Yup you've sure swayed me Gummy, those climate scientists constantly studying data, new information, clearly know nothing. Go Gummy!! Let's tear those experts a new one, let's undermine this conspiracy theory which as yet has only been bravely fought against by those poor downtrodden fossil fuel companies.

The trouble is, you think you have the experts on your side. You don't. You pick the "experts" who say the world is ending. There are plenty who hold the opposite opinion.

Those "experts" by the way lose their funding if they find anything other than catastrophe around every corner.

... funding is everything to scientists and researchers ... without that , they cease to be active ... toe the man made climate change line , or else !

There really aren't, not climate scientists anyway, there is a list of "scientists" that disagree with man's affect on climate change absolutely, and granted that includes physicists, engineers, chemists, all of whom will have a science background. However, science is a very specialised field, one's subject matter expertise in one area does not qualify you in other areas. Much like Drs, despite both having PHDs, I'd rather a brain surgeon operated on my brain than a Podiatrist.

There are few actual experts in the field of climate study that disagree we as a species are affecting climate change.

Oh and the backers of climate denial, would you like a list of companies that support climate scepticism? There are hardly any surprises in there by the way (except Google). I wonder if they stand to lose anything financially?

Rolling on - opinions aren't the point, although I quite see why you need to go there.

Facts are a much better basis for debate. I suggest you do some reading. Start with 'The Limits to Growth', (and all the updates) then Overshoot (Cattons rather unassailable take on population) and perhaps Wright's 'Short History of Progress', and maybe Kunstler's Long Emergency.

Nothing like being informed, I always say.

Nobody on here wants to hear it PDK, they are all in denial and the fact is there is no point worrying about climate change anyway as nobody is really ready to make the degree of changes necessary to save the planet. Too many people, too much pollution, too big a problem so it will continue until its all over and even then there will still be people wandering about saying how did it happen ? We are a pretty stupid, greedy race really so its destined to fail. All you can hope for is it all turns to shit after your gone.

RollingOn, debating human induced climate change is not a thing, there is no debate. Debating the best tech and solutions is the debate (see comments below). Countries not getting in with it will be left behind, including economically.

Not at this rate unless it was triggered by a major geological event affecting the atmosphere.
Where is the current geological event?

Volcanoes ! . . Stop that eruption .... stop it now !!!

Humans dwarf volcanic output of carbon by 120 x.... we are the geological event. Erupting and venting 24x7x365

Nearly all of the recently added and continually rising CO2 in our atmosphere has the isotopic signature of burned fossil fuels (as opposed to e.g., volcanoes). This is totally consistent with our collective emissions of about 40 billion tonnes of CO2 gas per year (and rising), which is way more than what all volcanoes emit (around 0.3-2% of that amount).

People confuse climate change with human induced climate change.
Most people would agree the climate constantly changes.

Voiceofreason what do you do to mitigate your environmental impact, apart from using reusable bags?

NZC - no. Some people CHOOSE to confuse the two.

Some of us saw this coming a long, long time ago, and dis something about it.


Less emotion at the adult table pdk.

I'm guessing most people and likely you included:
1. Have air conditioned work environments.
2. Use smart phones (and upgrade every few years).
3. Have a t.v. and tablets/ laptop
3. Drive a petrol powered car
4. Use plastics of some form

Everyone wants change but don't want to change themselves.

NZC - no, no, no, no, yes to laptop, very little to car, virtually none.

And I grow more carbon (no financial return, no harvesting) than I use.

I figure one shouldn't talk unless they're walking first :)

Another 3 billion humans walking this rock (reducing rock, rising water) in the next 30 years, 10 billion around 2050 (look it up), the climate? Yeah probably affected, war for poorer (or richer) countries with valuable water, arable land and the like a certainty. Add to that a fast increasing middle class world wide eating more, buying more demanding more, don’t fixate on climate change…… there will be plenty to worry about

Makes you wonder how much of this undeniable future influences military strategy today

Almost all projected world population increase is for Africa - most of world has stopped growing. And there is no way that Africa will double or triple its population given their terrible governance issues - it takes great organisation and intensive farming to support a large population neither of which have proven sustainable in Africa - they will descend into war and death long before that happens (as has happened/is happening throughout Arab world where population has expanded 5-10x in last 60 years.

NZ Citizen, as I understand it, the biggest world problem is coal-fired power. Because we’ve wasted so much time, ramping up renewable energy worldwide over the next 10-20 years would go a long way to helping, especially solar + energy storage (which is exponentially growing anyway). In NZ we need to be working on other things of course, as our electricity is mostly clean. Our petroleum-based transport is big, as is our ag emissions. Phasing our our oil and gas industry is a good thing. We are a smart country, we can replace the revenue and jobs with better ones. NZ is a great place to be working on such things tidal and wave power tech I think. World renewable energy investment in 2018 was about USD 289 billion, more than fossil fuel investment, but it needs to be a lot more. Big industry, if NZ can get a slice of that.

Lovely posidivity there - "We are a smart country, we can replace the revenue and jobs with better ones."

Care to edumicate the rest of us about - just say as an example - how agriculture can be electrified while simultaneously keeping us fed and generating a sufficient level of exports to pay for the inevitable inputs?

More sustainable agriculture is something our smart ag scientists can work on, I'm sure. If we can crack the science and practice of far more sustainable agriculture, that could be an export industry in itself. We could be a world leader in it. Let's face it, it's not about keeping NZ fed, it's about exports. I've given other examples above of how NZ could capitalise on a more sustainable future. It's not all doom and gloom, there are some great opportunities if we just get on with it. Pity we weren't on to it earlier. Notice how big wind turbine company Vestas is from Denmark. Where's our renewable energy tech for export?

The science and practice of sustainable agriculture has long been cracked. It is what the incumbents were practicing when Europeans hove into sight and overcame them by using more energy. The locals saw their spaces as 'full', the Europeans (having depleted their place at a too-fast rate) saw them as 'empty'. Hence 'Go west, my friend' and 'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'.

All over. We're all full. Did it on draw-down, everything from topsoil to biodiversity to atmospheric sink-capacity to fossil energy extraction. It took Trump to say they are full. No MSM scribe dares go near it.

Sustainable means something you can maintain long-term. Capitalising and sustainable are near-incompatible, as are growing and sustainable.

Well, a spot of gene editing of e.g. grasses Here, CRISPR a pest or six There, and widespread adoption of both, could do some of that.

But none of this is allowed because Reasons.

Batteries are on their way towards USD$50/kWh (within about 5 years given expected learning curves). A large farm machine costs $500k - a few 1000kWh battery packs per farm (usable by different machines) won't be a big cost, combined with a few 100kW of on-farm PV it will be cheaper than diesel. I bet they will start to become common in 5-10 years. Road transport will go electric too - Tesla Semi is expected to be 20-30% cheaper to operate than diesel and have 800km range on one charge. Electric planes up to 1000km will be available in 3 years (and cheaper than turboprops), longer range marine and international flight will need liquid fuels.

I was speaking with someone yesterday that is the ops manager for 140 trucks moving aggregate. Electric trucks will never be suitable for moving that sort of mass, they are looking at hydrogen. Personally I think they will be caught with their pants down, and hydgrogen won't be developed in time.

Battery swapping would solve the charging delay issues, and batteries are going to get much much lighter. Can now buy leading edge "Hermes" batteries that provide 1000kWh (enough to drive a 40 tonne truck 800km) and weigh just 2.5tonnes, though as yet they only last about 100 cycles. A truck engine already weighs 1-1.5tonnes so not much weight difference. The market for batteries is going to expand by >10x and R&D is/will consequently skyrocket, so in 5-10 years that sort of performance but longer life will be standard, and cheap.

Love you positivity Voiceofreason. NZ is a great place with great people. BUT, the only thing that NZ is very good at producing to exchange with the world is primary industry products (and their processing off course). And even there, NZ has undeniable advantages that has nothing to do with Kiwis (e.g. water, ideal growing conditions for grass, land etc). So you are a bit too optimistic to assume that the collective genius will off set all the significant economic consequences of going 100% enviro-friendly.
I never deny the fundamental importance of environment. And I personally do not care if "climate change" is real or is 10% caused by human or 100% caused by them. Regardless of that, polluting the air, the soil and water and destroying habitats of all other living things on the planet (even if it does not contribute 0.000000001% to "climate change") is wrong and with significant (although difficult to accurately measure) economic costs.
But you have to be honest and say that reducing pollution requires significant reduction in how comfortably we live at present.

Believer1980, A lot of renewable tech and sustainability solutions already exist, they just have to be scaled up, and they will also drive prices down as they scale. I wouldn't say reducing pollution requires significant reduction in how comfortably we live at present, it just means living in a more efficient and different way. We are NOT going to ditch all the technology and science we have learnt during the industrial and digital revolutions. On the contrary, we'll build on what we've learnt (and learn from the mistakes), and come up with new and better things to solve current problems. Yes I'm optimistic, especially that quite a lot can be accomplished in a short time if collectivity the world decides to do it. Look how quickly the world moved when there was an immediate economic crisis in 2008. Alternatively, climate will get a lot worse, the world will descend into conflict over increasingly scarce resources, and there'll be many, many millions of climate refugees to deal with. We're already seeing more authoritarian, populist governments, who are denying the problems even exist and slow down solutions. I think it's not an accident that is happening just when we need the opposite. I'd prefer the first path.

On oil and gas, even Kevin looks at oil and gas as desirable for Australia. Specailly gas is globally considered as either Plan A or at least Plan B (for when renewables do not perform as they should). Yet NZ has simply said no. NZ will need no back up plan for cloudy, still and cold winter days.

Still winter days are often sunny :)

I know - my house is passive solar and those days it is the warmest. For free.

Yes, I lived in Australia for 15 years. When Labor gets into govt, they tend to be influenced by the powerful mining (including coal) industry too. In fact, I remember that when Rudd wanted to implement a quite reasonable mining tax on the giant mining companies to help with paying for climate policy, the industry implemented a big public advertising campaign against the tax. It seemed unbelievable that it worked, but it did. They fooled enough of the population into thinking a small mining company tax would be really bad for the economy and jobs - total fear campaign. It was quite a thing to see. It was the end of Rudd, the mining industry got rid of him. Also, Australia should have implemented a sovereign wealth fund with a small part of the mining revenue over the decades, like Norway did with their oil industry money. Instead, they squandered it, thinking coal mining would last forever.

Don't know why they don't plant more trees and get credits that way . Yes , i know its dry , but there are trees that will handle that , and irrigation methods to grow without using excessive water. But most promising (and most efficient carbon storer) is the mangrove , which they could grow in large manmade inland bays.

One prime reason for the distrust of the 'we're All gonna Fry' meme is simply that the base data has been so hideously wrangled to suit the narrative and thereby to keep the funding flowing.....

Chiefio 'Polarphobia' is an examination of two versions of the GHCN temperature series (from a SQL database run on Chiefio's favourite platform: single-board computers, and using data downloaded directly from the archived GHCN sources).

Sobering stuff...and, as Tacitus is quoted as saying a few millennia ago, Cui Bono? Chiefio's conclusion:

I see no way to reconcile the steady temperatures of the Pacific Islands with their steady thermometer readings and any supposed runaway greenhouse scenario. New Zealand temperature history is much more consistent with someone playing with the instruments, than with any warming trends.

Think about that, Waymad. You're way too smart to fall unintentionally for that piece of physics nonsense. So you mush have a predisposition....

I have sailed the Pacific - 3 years ago and this year. There are patches of ocean where the surface temp is just ridiculous. Never before heard of. Storms turning into Cat5's in 13 hours. Strongest-ever's. Try living with it consequentially, and it becomes real.

So think about islands, the moderating medium that surrounds them, the Trades, the Hadley cells and the Coriolis effect.

And I go to lectures from fisheries researchers, who report species migrating away from the Equator at between 5 and 10 km/year. As we've had kingfish in Foveaux Strait. Fish, of course, can manage such shifts to stay in their preferred temperature range - trees could shift at natural rates of change but not at the rate we're forcing on them. Nor can corals. Come on, you can do better than that. A man who has the cohones to have a serious solar array.... :)

Climate sometimes changes slowly, sometimes quickly. Not one of the pollution, acid rain, global warming, climate change, climate emergency doomsayers has studied and explained the frozen mammoths in Siberia. Not one of them has explained why not one of the global warming phases in the past has ever been caused by CO2 atmospheric levels increasing, yet the future one will cause the end of the world by 1995, no... 2001, no......2006, no....2011, no.... 2016, no.... in 12 years time. No wonder the vast majority of us, a la the Aussie voters, are a bit cynical about these people and their determination to solve this by us paying more taxes. A la our own Green Party having 94% of those polled not wanting them governing us. It is great entertainment, but if the best they can do is put up a nutcase autistic kid to speak for them, whose parents should be sued for neglect, borderline abuse of their child, then no wonder they are not to be taken seriously.

Greta's handlers have made her rich, with a secure career and a lot of sympathetic good-will from the world at large plus the ability to get into any school she wants, all while doing what she loves. For a neuro-atypical young woman that would have likely struggled to find a satisfying role in the world that is a massive win.

The reality is when you are struggling to pay your way based on the present status quo, 90% of the population don't even have time to give a 'rats arse' about climate change.

And the solution they are given if they did think about it, is their costs would go up, more taxes etc. but it's a good idea of someone else somewhere else did it first, especially the likes of China and India.

Do you think it might help the environment/climate change if we built houses that used 80% less energy, that the total land and house price was 1/2 to 2/3rd's less than it needs to be and helped reduce debt, that then might be invested in green technology?

Of course not, otherwise we would have done it - right?

Good comment. One of the best so far.

We do what we think is best for us, short-term. If hungry, we do what we have to, to eat. If not hungry, we can do other stuff. Perhaps buy a fancy car to impress one of the opposite sex to cross her genes with ours. But in terms of acting on behalf of out grandchildren, we are hopelessly cognitively ill-equipped.

One of the problems is the symbiotic tie-up between energy and money; if 'investment' in renewable energy underwrites less work than 'investment' in non-renewable energy, we plump for investing in the non-renewable. Another is our abhorrence of addressing population - sadly, because if you reduce population you reduce consumption and therefore reduce depletion and pollution. You can even argue for greater per-head consumption with less population..... But we are now looking at systemic collapse, as more and more energy-exporting countries become internal-users and eventually importers, more and more are affected by climate, water scarcity, resource competition etc. China, India, the Middle East and indeed North America, are all in trouble by 2030.

History tells us that as societies have peaked, discussion has either been absent or quashed. My experience this last decade, suggests quashed. As societies collapse, it all goes quiet. The Long Count sorta stops being recorded. This time we are running the process globally. We are unlikely to ever do that again; there is unlikely to be enough energy left for a re-boot.

Here in NZ, we have two problems; feeding our largely city-domiciled cohort, and repelling boarders. The former we aren't really addressing excepting for the odd local-food NGO, the latter we have just made harder by confiscating an arsenal. No media commentator went even near addressing the latter. So we remain largely ignorant.

I only have to look back a couple of generations to see how my ex lighthouse keeper ancestors lived and then the generation from that with the backyard suburban garden that feed them and others, supplemented with meat they mainly hunted, or farmed themselves. Yes their fossil footprint was not good with coal ranges and gas guzzling cars, but the right mix of the old self sufficiency with the new technology gives better results.

When you drive around the suburbs and see the waste of land sitting in grass that could easily grow real food but the owners have lost the knowledge and don't have the time due to both partners working to pay for things like the excessive debt from over inflated property prices, then that is the true waste of sprawl. But the answer is not to go further into the city centre.

And the irony for the compact city greens, it could be the sprawling suburbs that become valuable as a food growing resource for their future survival.

Part of the answer and an easy first transition step to 'saving the planet' is getting rid of the non valued added costs (waste) in the system like the overinflated cost of land and development costs, building passive type housing topped up with technology to supply what little extra energy is needed, etc.

Plus I take your points as noted re population. There is an irony that the advances in reducing in infant mortality etc. without the reduction in the need for conception has caused this human population bubble.

This whole issue of using a proxy like CO2 to measure man made 'climate change' is a distraction to what really should be done. The fact it is also a tax on an already overburdened population that are trying to pay there weekly bills is just falling on deaf ears.

Spending $50-100k extra to build a passive house that saves $300/year in electricity is utter foolishness. Spend a tenth of that on extra roof PV if you want to make a more positive impact that actually makes sense economically. Or spend the same money on a larger scale grid connected PV system that would add enough power for 10 houses to the grid.

That's falling for conventional hype. You can still build a passive-solar house for less than a conventional one. My 50k for 135 sq/m of passive in 2005 is a bit dated, but a friend has just done it - 130 sq/m for 130k, walk-in.

You just have to think outside the norm. Passive solar gives, every day, for no cost. Forever.

The saving is far more than $300 per year, and the cost far less than what you say,. And even if it does cost a little bit more at least it is a low depreciative capital item which adds value to your property, both in the short and long term.

Irrespective, you don't justify the purchase of the gas guzzler just because you can afford the gas. NZ houses are poorly built and expensive to build and then expensive to run, but without too much effort can be made almost twice as efficient in energy use, plus get all the other associated benefits with a warm, dry house like reduced health costs etc., and then when you do buy your PV then you only need 1/2 the amount.

Even if we just built to the North American or European standard we would be far better of, but they are starting to move even further to Passive.

Th reality is we already earn more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle, but most of that money is wasted on excess mortgage debt costs, extra health costs, and of course energy costs.

We need to be less wasteful and more efficient.

Politicians and government are really the last in the chain in terms of fighting climate change. They only think in terms of 3 or 4 years with their final year concentrating on what is likely to get them re-elected. Could a completely independent agency ‘run’ this part of government with a better long term view rather than a politicians view?

I wonder how many of the people here who don't believe human impact on Earth's ecology is significant, have read any Nick Land.....? Probably none.

Maybe we need to grasp the theme of Australia's resistance to NZ immigrants and reciprocate. I do not fancy being overrun my a bunch red necked Australian climate refugees.
(is that racist? some how I suspect that we will tend to accept statements like this because Australians have essentially the same dominant European ethnic culture. Odd, isn't it?)