Environment

Politicians and main stream media are losing their audience

Now this is a fascinating poll result out of the states.  How much do people care about Climate Change, and the environment in general compared to 15 years ago?

ferweewqfw

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Lessons for Auckland from Sao Paulo

São Paulo is in trouble this week as it looks likely to be dangerously close to running out of water to supply its residents.

It’s the 12th biggest city in the world and a place smart growth advocate’s like to tout from time to time of our intensive cities can work.

Except it has a big problem.

The city of Sao Paulo is home to 20 million Brazilians, making it the 12th largest mega-city on a planet dominated by shortsighted humans. Shockingly, it has only 60 days of water supply remaining. The city “has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves,” reports Reuters. [1]

Technical reserves have already been released, and as the city enters the heavy water use holiday season, its 20 million residents are riding on a fast-track collision course with severe water rationing and devastating disruptions.

But this isn’t a story about Sao Paulo; it’s a report that dares to point out that human societies are incredibly shortsighted and nearly incapable of sustainably populating planet Earth. In numerous regions around the world — including California, India, Oklahoma, Brazil, China and many more — human populations are rapidly out-growing the capacity of their local water systems. Even though keeping populations alive requires food… and growing food requires water… almost no nation or government in the world seems to be able to limit water consumption of local populations to levels which are sustainable in the long term.

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Is Labour changing its policy on Climate Change now?

Labour has said that climate change is one of the biggest issues facing New Zealand.

They also say repeatedly that the government’s solution or policies on climate change aren’t bold enough and that New Zealand must do more and that National is sitting on its hands while the world burns.

New Zealand’s carbon emissions are about 0.15% of the world’s emissions yet Labour says we must do more, set an example for the rest of the world and if we do that then other countries will lift their game

It appears though that their policy on climate is dead in the water.

Why?

Well because it fails their own logic argument.  Read more »

The problem with ‘ethical investing’

Yet again the Green party is lecturing us on ‘ethical investing’.

Can anyone see a problem with that?

The Green Party has called for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to quit its investments in companies producing fossil fuel.

The fund’s chief executive, Adrian Orr, said it took the issue of climate change seriously and expected its exposure to fossil fuels to fall over time, and investment in renewables to rise.

“But a simple divestment call? The world is just not that straightforward,” he said.

The fund, set up by the previous Labour Government to partially pre-fund future New Zealand Superannuation payments, had $676 million invested in companies directly involved in fossil fuel production as of last June. That represented about 2 per cent of the fund’s assets.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman, in a paper released yesterday, makes an ethical case for not investing in companies whose activities are literally fuelling potentially catastrophic climate change.

He also points to a financial risk of stranded assets, citing analysis by the International Energy Agency and other bodies that the world’s coal, oil and gas companies already have in their proven reserves at least three times as much carbon as can be burned without exceeding the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.   Read more »

Guest Post – Phil Hayward on Auckland and the RMA reforms

by Phil Hayward

The Auckland Unitary Plan Submission process is underway and we should soon know whether it is a charade with outcomes pre-determined and impervious to evidence. The usual suspects are also claiming once again to be able to “debunk” the latest Demographia Report on housing affordability, and even the government is embarrassed over the dismal ineffectiveness of its trumpeted “Housing Accords”.

My previous essays on this forum could usefully be read or re-read now by anyone interested in this subject.

The prevalent mythology is that Auckland already sprawls too much at low density, already has built too many roads (and that is why it is congested), is letting the floodgates re-open too much towards more new sprawl and not enough new intensification (60% of growth to be via intensification is the plan), the ramp-up in building now is major, and intensification will provide for affordability.

In fact, Auckland is around 3 times as dense as Boston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Nashville and dozens of other US cities; is the second densest city in the Anglo New World after Toronto (pop. 6 million); is one of the densest first world urban areas of only 1 million people; is close to Amsterdam’s density and is denser than Lyon, Marseille, the Ruhr Valley and many urban areas in France and Germany, especially those with around 1 million people or less.

We have never actually had US style low density sprawl; very little of our suburban development was ever even ¼ acre sections. That always was a “dream” for most, and now nearly every such section has already had townhouses built on what was the backyard. In the USA, suburbs are common with minimum lot size mandates of 1 acre to 4 acres.  

Michael Bassett and Luke Malpass (NZ Initiative) “Priced Out: How NZ Lost its Housing Affordability” (2012) show that NZ and Auckland were during the period from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, building as many as twice as many new dwellings as now. Most of that was greenfields suburban development, albeit at considerably higher density than US-style sprawl. We now have congestion problems because there was inadequate planning of road capacity, not because we did the roads we did.

I have estimated from TomTom Traffic index data and Google Earth imagery, that Auckland has 1/3 the highway lane miles and 1/5 the arterial lane miles of Indianapolis, which has a similar population. Indianapolis in the TomTom Traffic Index, scores a congestion delay of 15 minutes per 1 hour of driving at peak (other comparable US cities are similar) versus Auckland’s 45 minutes. Of course its house price median multiple happens to be stable at around 3 as well, in spite of being truly low density, unlike Auckland.   Read more »

Dodgy ratbag council still failing to hold another dodgy polluting council to account

This is ironic, the Central Hawkes Bay District Council is still in breach of sewage discharge permits more than 10 years after the issue was highlighted and despite stringent testing and more than $6 million on a new waste treatment system.

Worse still it is the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, who want to turn the Tukituki river toxic with their own plans who are failing to hold the CHB District Council to account.

The Central Hawke’s Bay District Council is failing to clean up its wastewater plant which now breaches resource consent and discharges dangerous levels of bacteria into rivers.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council resource-use manager Wayne Wright said the results were in and the facility had shown no improvement after testing was conducted on December 18 last year. “This means CHB District Council is now non-compliant with its resource consent.”

Last month Hawke’s Bay Today revealed a HBRC report which showed “serious concerns” with the redeveloped $6 million wastewater plant.

The study found, despite the recent upgrade, that harmful bacteria and wastewater were being released into the Tukituki River at unacceptable levels. HBRC said “urgent action” was required after raising concerns the nutrient Amm.N and SRP and E.Coli bacterium had now exceeded the limits.

Resource consents regulating the discharge of wastewater from the plants were changed on October 1, 2014, and required a significantly higher standard of wastewater.

Mr Wright said HBRC was now working with CHBDC to rectify the problem and to provide a timeframe for compliance.

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Bugger, another global warming catastrophe claim busted

It looks like, contrary to the alarmists views, that global warming is actually helping wheat production, not hindering it.

Forbes reports:

Global wheat production set new records in 2013 and 2014, contradicting alarmists’ claims that global warming is reducing wheat harvests.

Global warming alarmists and their lapdog media allies decided Christmas Week 2014 should be filled with claims that global warming is crushing wheat production. Grist, Reuters, the UKGuardian, and the Columbus Dispatch are among the many news organizations parroting alarmist assertions that global warming is reducing wheat harvests. The Reuters article, for example, cites a study co-authored by several global warming alarmists to claim, “In recent decades, wheat yields had declined in hotter sites such as India, Africa, Brazil and Australia, more than offsetting yield gains in some cooler places including parts of the United States, Europe and China.”

Reuters did not indicate whether it had fact-checked the straightforward claim that global crop yields have been declining in recent decades. Reuters also failed to provide any countering viewpoint, giving readers the impression that declining global wheat yields are universally recognized. Knowing, however, that global warming alarmists and their ventriloquist dummies in the media often make straightforward factual claims that are proven false by objective, verifiable data, I decided to fact-check their straightforward claim about declining global wheat yields.

Not only are global wheat yields not declining, they are rising at a spectacular pace. According to objective U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, global wheat yields have risen by 33 percent since 1994. Moreover, there has been a 4 percent increase in areas harvested for wheat, indicating increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, improved soil moisture, and global warming are making more lands suitable for wheat harvests. Cumulatively, the 33 percent increase in wheat yield per acre and the 4 percent increase in land harvested for wheat add up to a near 40 percent increase in the global wheat harvest since 1994.

The spectacular gains in wheat yields show no signs of slowing down as the Earth continues its modest warming. The year 2014 saw the highest global wheat yield in history, exceeding the 2013 yield that had also set a new record.

Looking a little closer at wheat production data, the alarmists’ propensity for telling lies extends far beyond lies about global wheat production. It turns out the alarmists and their media allies are also telling lies about wheat production in the very nations and continents they claim are experiencing wheat production declines — India, Africa, Brazil and Australia.

Alarmist lie? Well I never. Same with media…who would have ever thought it?

Let’s start by looking at Africa. Egypt is the only African nation that cracks the global top 20 in wheat production. In Egypt, wheat output has quadrupled during the past three decades, with the past 10 years producing the 10 highest wheat crops in Egyptian history. This is quite a contradiction to Reuters’ claim that “In recent decades, wheat yields had declined in hotter sites such as India, Africa, Brazil and Australia….”

And it’s not just Egypt, either. Africa’s second largest wheat producer, Morocco, produced its largest wheat crop in history in 2013.

On the other side of the African continent, South Africa alsoproduced record wheat yields in 2014, continuing a trend of rising South African wheat yields that extends back to the 1980s. Taking advantage of rapidly rising wheat yields, South Africans have been able to cut the area cultivated for wheat production to merely one-third of 1980s levels while still maintaining steady total wheat production. This has enabled South Africans to produce additional crops on former wheat farms and return much of the cropland to its natural condition for Africa’s iconic wildlife.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Wessex Water/GENeco. Bio-Bus, UK’s First Poo-Powered Transport Service Bus splashes down the road.

Photo: Wessex Water/GENeco.
Bio-Bus, UK’s First Poo-Powered Transport Service Bus splashes down the road.

All Aboard the Poo Bus! Ding Ding, Route Number Two Departing

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Even Google Engineers now say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’

windturbine

Google is one of the biggest investors in renewable technology. They have poured billions into research and now their top engineers say that renewable energy is hopelessly flawed.

Eric Worrell at WUWT explains:

A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change Read more »

The economics of Ruataniwha dam don’t stack up

As regular readers will know I have been opposed tot he dodgy socialist dam in the Hawkes Bay.

The high handed way the Hawkes Bay Regional Council has been pushing this dam through against all environmental advice and now it turns out economic advice is a travesty.

The other day I called for millionaire local MPs Craig Foss and Alistair Scott to put their considerable wealth where their mouths were and invest in Ruataniwha themselves.

I suspect I know why they won’t invest, and I will share that with you all now.

The dam is a dog.

Hi Cameron,

I see that you’ve picked up the FW article on the economics of the Ruataniwha dam.  Please find attached a copy of the original paper that the FW article was based on.  It was presented at the annual NZ Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (NZARES) conference in August.

I’ve also attached the PowerPoint slides that accompany the presentation.

You will see that unfortunately, the dam is an absolute loser for farmers too – so even at the knock down water price offered by HBRC farmers still can’t make it work.  As per the paper, here’s the maths:   Read more »