Monday, December 11, 2006

First thoughts on the New Zealand Energy Strategy

The government has released its draft New Zealand Energy Strategy, Powering Our Future – Towards a Sustainable Low Emissions Energy System [PDF]. It will take a while to fully digest, but an initial skim suggests that its not the silver bullet for climate change that was expected. It has some welcome suggestions around biofuels and the promotion of wave power, but no specific measures to reduce electricity sector emissions. Rather, it "lays out a pathway" for carbon costs to be fully internalised, at a rate no faster than our competitors. As the Sustainable Energy Forum notes, this is a cloudy vision indeed, and it seems likely to result in another decade of foot-dragging on climate change, with emissions continuing to rise as generators dump their costs on wider society.

I'll post more on this when I've given it a thorough going over. But at first glance, it doesn't really measure up.


As if to prove the point...,2106,3897431a13,00.html

Posted by George Darroch : 12/12/2006 10:56:00 AM

I'm surprised you haven't commented on this yet, I/S:

UN downgrades man's impact on the climate


However, Julian Morris, executive director of the International Policy Network, urged governments to be cautious. "There needs to be better data before billions of pounds are spent on policy measures that may have little impact," he said.

It's worth noting that every successive IPCC report has followed the same pattern, since they began their scaremongering in 1990.

The sad thing is that John 'Princples?' Key has just pinned his election hopes on climate change policies. Oh well, serves him right for being so credulous.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 12/12/2006 11:46:00 AM

Duncan: between funerals and filling my head with medieval metaphysics (which makes my brain bleed), I haven't had much time recently. But at first glance, I'd say their subeditor has taken a typically shallow approach. The key reason for the changes is this:

the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is less than had been thought, due to the unexpected levels of cooling caused by aerosol sprays, which reflect heat from the sun.

What causes these aerosols? We do. The phenomenon is known as global dimming, and we've known for a few years that it is helping to mask the warming effect (note the empirical data from the 911 shutdown in that). Ironically, our pollution is helping to counteract itself, though not nearly enough. And that said, 1.5 - 4.5 degrees by century's end is still more than enough to cause widespread misery; it is a moral imperative to do something about it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/12/2006 12:27:00 PM

Ooo, ooo. Medieval philosophy.

Earlier in the year I played a character in Stuart Hoar's Squatter, with a habit of propounding on people like Abelard and Avicenna - mostly in a biographical way - such that he could only be understood if you knew what he was talking about already.

"As I was saying - a modern gyrovagus. And so, like Abelard - sweet tounged, foul nested Aberlard - who left home, for what? The Paraclete's oratory, that's what!"

So I did look up some stuff. My sympathies.

Posted by Lyndon : 12/12/2006 02:20:00 PM

Lyndon: I like Abelard. He was one of the original shit-stirrers of the C12th. But then, I also like Roger Bacon.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/12/2006 02:52:00 PM

Sorry to hear about the funerals :-(

If Medieval metaphysics gives you pain in the brain, you should try (most) contemporary epistemology ... :-O

W.r.t. aerosols & global dimming ... don't you find it just the least bit coincidental that the effects of global dimming on temperature rises are enough to lower global temperates just the perfect amount to keep sea level rise at a constant rate, instead of the rise originally predicted by the IPCC?

I think the whole field of anthropogenic climate change is coming to resemble Luminiferous aether ... a reasonable idea at first glance, but increasingly redundant given later discoveries.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 12/12/2006 03:56:00 PM

Medieval metaphysics is why I love St Augustine NOT St Thomas Aquinas.

Posted by muerk : 12/12/2006 04:46:00 PM

Which raises the option that we could throw some funny chemical into the atmosphere that would cause the earth to cool or rain more, or whatever.

Posted by Genius : 12/12/2006 09:28:00 PM