Thinking of this after Don Brash splurged. Worth a close read.

My Country   – penned by Dorothy Mackellar, penned in England in 1904, homesick for Australia.

Mackellar’s notebook with first two verses

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Don Brash – same old same old

Seems like we’re getting the mantra again, again. Tax cuts for the upper income end, and less govt spending. Whoopty doo. No addressing of the real world then, or the permanent changes afoot.

Just a scrap over ownership of those deckchairs, even as they slide faster.

orewa to oblivion in one move?

Actually, this looks more like ‘scare them, then introduce something softer, and they’ll all be happy. Nick Smith did it with ACC too. It’s spin. Disingenuous. Predictable.

Those Hacked emails – a teacup in a storm?

I – although I never stop doing it – was forced to re-think my acceptance of climate science over the weekend. Those hacked emails had (predictably) gotten the talk-back types in the blogosphere very excited. One of the excited ones made a comment on a site I enjoy commenting on, and made me think.

The reason was unusual – generally folk who are ‘climate deniers, are peak-oil deniers, end-of-growth deniers, and hold a dim view of those who seek to protect, conserve, enhance, or to hold in trust. It just goes with the territory, and is one of the reasons you can discount them. They pretty much argue from a vested interest viewpoint, whereas my kind – well, theres nothing in it for us, beyond the knowledge that we owe it to our kids…

This fellow professed to hold with exponential growth, peak oil and resource depletion being ‘big problems’. But then thought the carbon issue a crock. Rare enough to make me think, which is always a good thing.

So over the weekend, I started from scratch – the difference between the temperatures on Mars and Venus, and why. The science of why a glasshouse/greenhouse works, and why a clear night is a frosty night.

Then I looked at the hacked emails- and I’d have expressed the sentiments too, in the same position as those (hacked) folk. Firstly, they know we are already too late. Then, they know what the deniers don’t. So the sense of ‘time running out’ is one-sided – the deniers have all the time in the world, in fact, every day they play so that nothing happens (which will impact their precious little lives) is actually a ‘win’ for them.

The emails don’t change the science, as presented. The near-hysterical blog stuff reminds me of talk-back radio – about as balanced, intelligent and informed. Predisposed, I’d have called it.

If you need to hang onto the fact that 1998 was the ‘hottest year on record’, I feel sorry for you. The anthropogenic forcing is not as powerful as the background fluctuations – like la nina , and el nino – and nobody has ever claimed it to be so.

The scenario painted was receding ice caps and glaciers, extreme weather events (Katrina and the Victorian firebomb for example) and droughts/floods, all of which are playing out.

Say ‘record flood’, or ‘record fire danger’, and you get ‘It’s the weather stupid”.

I’ll tell you what’s stupid. We have clearly gone past the time when we invented, and believed in, Gods. We are now at the point where we have to be responsible for our actions, and at the point where those actions are so big, that they are planet-altering in their potential impacts.

That requires us to be mature – grown up, as it were.

That in turn gives us only one answer to the threat of climate change. We must address all the potential threats, as there is no time left to equivocate, if they are real. If they are not real, we can back off. If they are real, we did right.

End of story.

I looked for the best the denial brigade had to offer – Plimmer was the name, I think – Wishart (inevitably) gave him an airing – but not much of substance – just the old things about sunspots, a mediaeval ‘blip’ somewhere, water vapour and the usual about 1998 being the hottest year. (It’s been well known forever, that the difference between La and El episodes more than covers such – in which (corrected) case, 2005 was the hottest year on record.

But it’s all semantics. This was never about a straight line, nor about uniform warming everywhere. Some places were absolutely expected to get colder, and or wetter. Pretty obvious, really, as is the reason  why. Learn your way through  intertropical convergence zones, Hadley Cells, trade winds, ocean currents…..  The highs and lows are going to be running different average tracks.

I hope nothing comes of climate change, I really do. To be responsible to my kids, however, I can’t afford to pretend that it isn’t a threat, therefore I don’t have to address it.

That’s immature.  Denial, blame-shifting and obfuscation are immature.

Which we should be past, by now. If we aren’t, then we are a doomed unit, and fairly quickly, for a host of other looming paradigms.

Simple as that. What a race – in both senses!

The IEA, and Climate Change – why?

This is lifted from



IEA Chief Presents Sobering View of Our Energy Future

Posted by JR on November 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm

(image: and Chief Fatih Birol addressed the Council on Foreign Relations earlier this week. (image: and

Monday night at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented the highlights of the recently released 2009 World Energy Outlook, which was recently completed. Yours truly was in attendance, and got the scoop just for you dear readers.

Mr. Birol knows his stuff- he worked for OPEC for six years, has written lots of articles about energy and energy policy, has won lots of awards for his work and is steeped every day in the numbers and analysis of global energy consumption and production. He’s known for being pretty plainspoken. So when he has something to say, we should listen.

And what he has to say isn’t pretty. Some samples:

• To keep up with global oil demand, the world will need to discover an additional four (yes, he said four) Saudi Arabia’s worth of crude reserves before 2030

• To keep up with global gas demand the world will need to discover an additional four Russia’s worth of natural gas reserves by 2030.

• Because of the financial crisis, global investment in oil production fell by $90B in 2009, or 19 percent- the first time this has happened in a decade.

• Existing oil fields will lose two-thirds of their productive capacity by 2030

• Between 2008 and 2030, the percentage of GDP spent on energy in the US will double, and in countries like China and India could increase three to six-fold.

• Oil prices were ‘not innocent’ in precipitating the financial crisis of 2008 and will remain a threat to global growth.

Whoa…Fatih…I’m trying to catch my breath here. What are we going to do?

Mr. Birol emphasized that the way to address these threats is to address climate change. In the IEA’s projections they use two scenarios, one they call the ‘Reference’ scenario (no change in our behavior) and the ‘450’ scenario (we keep carbon parts per million in the atmosphere under the critical 450 and thus will save the world- or so Al Gore tells me).

The changes he calls for to reach the 450 scenario are EXPENSIVE. They would cost many trillions—with a capital T. Renewables, electric cars, carbon capture, wind, solar, cap and trade, the works. But, he emphasizes, the cost of waiting will be even more expensive.

During the Q&A session that followed his presentation, someone asked him what his recommendations would be if climate change turned out to be an elaborate hoax (I paraphrase). He said he would still recommend 90% of the changes outlined in the review. Huh?

Birol explained that many people, especially in the developing world, view energy security as a bigger issue than climate change. Countries like China and India may not be very interested in spending money on climate change, but they may be extremely willing to spend on energy security. The same argument could be made to climate change skeptics. In his view, the changes we would make to reduce emissions are the same moves we would make to improve our energy security.

Interesting. Is it possible climate change zealots and national security hawks can fall in love on this? Who’s going to call Al Gore and Dick Cheney for the handshake photo-op? And is this really a way we can convince China it is in their best interest not to turn the planet into the air quality equivalent of my Grandpa’s apartment (Marlboro reds, two packs daily)? Sounds revolutionary to me.

Birol did have some other very interesting comments that we will touch on in future articles, among them:

• Hydrofracking in the US represents a silent energy revolution that no one is paying attention to, but will provide us with oodles of natgas for the next 20 years.
• Oil and coal usage in OECD (developed) countries peaked in 2009
• A natural gas glut is forming globally and will reach its apex in 2015

So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Be back in touch soon.

The question is: why is Birol so all-fired up about Climate Change. Because the science is a scam, driven by the oil industry to cover it’s real tale of depletion?


My take is that Birol and Co have, for years, been optimistic – very so – in calling future supply. This is one way of obfuscating the reality (‘we throttled back because we had to’, rather than ‘we ran out – the Peak Oilers were right).

I’ll bet the red bit – yet to be discovered oil – is still in Slide 7, but.

Nick Smith – disingenuous at best, fella.

This is an excerpt from an NZPA article:


Green Party co-leader Russel Norman told NZPA the allocation of free carbon credits would put an enormous burden on taxpayers.

“It can’t possibly survive in its current form because the level of subsidy is so great, the taxpayer-funded liability is enormous,” he said.

“There’s just no way the taxpayer can possibly carry the burden.”

Dr Norman said National and the Maori Party had failed to take on their generation’s responsibility to cut emissions.

“They’ve passed it on to the next, and it’s quite shocking.”

Labour also opposed the ETS and, like the Greens, considers it is an inadequate response to climate change.

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith, who is in charge of it, told Parliament it was a workable, affordable scheme.

“New Zealand has been going round in circles for a decade on how to impose a cost on carbon pollution,” he said.

“This bill means that from July 1 next year there will be a price on carbon and an incentive for afforestation.”

Labour’s climate change spokesman, Charles Chauvel, said the ETS was fundamentally flawed.

“It is economically irrational, socially inequitable, environmentally counter-productive and fiscally unsustainable,” he said.


Nick Smith – actually, you are the one who has been going round and round in circles this last year, you and your thieving cronies. We had a scheme in place and in law. Not perfect, and not good enough to last the distance, but it wasn’t the rort that your one is.

Disingenuous, is what I call it. That’s being polite, too. Where’s your conscience? Oh, that’s right…..

Pore old An Tolley

There she goes again. Four good education researchers – my informant says ‘the best’ – have written to her, politely pointing out the error of her ways.

They needn’t have bothered, as far as Tolley is concerned – a lost cause and a wasted space, in my opinion. The did the right thing, though, for greater society – in the same way Socrates did. Even in the face of bullshit, you have to remain calm, focused on the big picture, and get as close to the truth as you can.

The Tolley failure is – in the end – one of insecurity. Hers. Why do I claim that? Well, when you’re insecure, but don’t have the tools to deal with that cranially, you use other means to circumvent it. Typically, that involves raising yourself up what you perceive (remember this is an intellect with a flawed building block) to be the strata of humanity. Surely,  you think, when you get to the ‘top, everyone will look up to me, and my angst will be assuaged.

That doesn’t work is you get to the top in tiddlywinks, but nobody else is interested. So you have to condition everyone to want to play in your game, and at the same time, you need the majority not to have a chance. Remember,that insecurity – you’re not too confident, deep down, that they won’t overtake you on a level playing-field.

So you set up a system where everyone is striving to be like you. They can’t, of course. There aren’t the resources on the planet to allow every South-Auckland kid to acquire a McMansion and a Beamer. That , of course, suits you down to the ground.

So Tolley, as part of a clique who think (?) like that wants to set up a regime where those kids born – through no fault of their own – into a lower socio-economic (think about it!) background, keep failing. In her game, though, of course. They will come to school ‘behind’, progress through school ‘behind’, and leave (probably early through a sense of failure) behind. A sad, and societally unacceptable outcome.

What should happen, is that the child is taken in at whatever level they are at, and is nurtured through at whatever pace they can manage, with the goal of achieving their individual goals and potentials.

Which brings us to the other Tolley dilemma: The reason for churning out all these bricks in the wall in the first place.

The theory presumably goes like this: Economic Growth is the goal. Yardsticks are simple (they have to be with this kind of intellect in control) and are: rating in the OECD, and GDP. Nothing else in the universe exists, or at least matters. Which is why English can say “if it’s a stand-off between economics and the environment, economics wins every time”, and why Brownlee can say “we’re open for business” to the petroleum industry, when he has no sequestration technology even on the horizon. But I digress….

Using such a (necessarily) simplistic approach, all you need to turn out is better and better little producers and consumers, and the world will be a great place.

It won’t happen, of course. Teachers are teachers, they only stay in the job because they’re committed to the kids. There are too many other ways of making a living without the stress and the paperwork, for them to stay just for the income. That in turn, means they will keep teaching the kids about real life, the wider life that takes in Enviroschools, gardens, boating, social studies, community obligations, humanity, and the like. In short, they will teach in a rounded way, while covering their asses in the Tolley era.

Which will implode, because it is stupid, narrow, elitist, wrongly targeted, wrongly goaled, and socially dysfunctional.

Sad epitaph, Minister: ‘Could do better”.

A couple of good reads off theoildrum

The first is the current state of production, the second is an interesting look at the maths of forward projections.

Take the time, both are worth having a serious think about.