Gareth Morgan – impressive talk, but questions remain

We went along to hear Gareth Morgan last night. We aren’t the type to go to a finance talk, so it wasn’t that. He is touring the country, talking about his trip to Antarctica, and raising money fro a pest-eradication programme on a sub-Antarctic island.

I was prepared to ask the obvious question: how does he justify, cranially, his involvement in growth economics, with his conservation efforts.

I didn’t. The man spoke too sincerely, and too thoughtfully, for that to be a valid question. A case of someone being too proactive, to knock. He has a better grasp of Climate Science, than anyone outside the science profession; with the perhaps exception of Gwynne Dyer. His graphic of the warming Southern Ocean (the temperature differential is much bigger at the poles) was irrefutable. Continue reading

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Otago Daily Times, RNZ News, Interest.co, and ? Swallowing the spin.

A wee while ago, a fellow named Maugeri, produced a paper. He hides behind the Harvard name, for respectability, but the outfit is a funded think-tank (read, lobby).

http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/2510/leonardo_maugeri.html

What he produced, was immediately rebutted:

http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-08-07/peak-oil-denial-debunking-attempted-debunking

But the ODT, RNZnews, and earlier, Interest.co.nz, chose to put it up. I don’t mind Interest.co – they put up other stuff, and allowe a discussion. I do have a problem with RNZ – no need to please sponsors, and an expectation that they will ascertain the truth. The ODT, of course, have a permanent in-build bias you could drive a bus through, and no apparent peer-review mechanism which holds up an internal mirror. They didn’t use the original article, by the way – but a once-removed (fudge) opinion based on same. As per ODT practice (Dene Mackenzie/Peter Mackintyre) the opinion has a statement-of-fact-appearing headline.

It’s not on line on the ODT site, but here it is:

http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2012/08/09/the-coming-glut-in-oil-%E2%80%93-and-its-impact/#comments

The bio says it all – a spinner regurgitating spin. The difference is that she doesn’t have ‘truth’ in her mission statement.

 

ps – this is a better treatment. The reporter is smart enough – honest enough? – to be sceptical.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/7474715/Oil-isn-t-running-out-expert

Being an Aussie, he had better realise that ‘electric cars’ are 80% ‘coal cars’, though. You have to remember what makes the electricity….

Green Drinks – Warwick Stanton? , Metiria Turei, oh dear…..

We went along to the Green Drinks last night. Hadn’t been for a while, but Prof Lloyd on ‘the connection between energy and finance’ sounded right up my alley. Polite people let the speaker do their presentation, then wait for question-time. One person – I’m told he is Metiria Turei’s partner Warwick Stanton – wasn’t so polite, and interrupted often.

Very quickly, it became obvious that he must have been a product of the ‘Business’ or ‘Commerce’ or Economics’ faculties. Talk of ‘services’, as if they can somehow soak up/displace the purchase of real items, as an eventual home for circulating proxy (for that is all that money is) was the give-away. How can these folk not see that sooner or later, all the ‘money’ that folk make from charging each other for services, eventually expects to be able to buy ‘bits of the planet’ (oil, food, processed resources). You can play the music and pass the parcel for a long time, but when the music stops….

If the Finance view was correct, we could all get wealthy without mining, aquaculture, farming, building, infrastructure. The need to grow ALL those physical activities, tells us the ‘services’ claim is humbug. That (buying physical bits of the planet) is the eventual home for ALL money, and the only real measure of ‘wealth’.

Jennie just thought he was a d-head, I though it was a bit more dangerous than that. This false – for it IS false – grasp of the place of finance in the real world, has no place in our future. Money is merely a proxy for future purchases. Non-resource-using services (if there are any – even a masseuse eats a BigAg-supplied breakfast, plies her trade in a fossil-fuel-expended building, and drove to work in a car) are a zero-sum balance either side of the ‘equals’ sign, but the real trail ends with the purchasing of ‘bits of the planet’. Clearly, via interest and profit charging, that demand for ‘bits of the planet’ is growing. Anyone who says different, I call a liar, or stupid. No third option.

If this nonsense infiltrates Green thinking, then they too have no place in our future. It might explain their slide into socialism (welfare, state housing, Holly Walker/Chch comments) of recent times. Green Growth is just as unsustainable as any other growth, and we are 30 years overdue for the public education on that. The old leadership clearly understood the Limits to Growth, this fellow apparently didn’t. The rudeness and the ‘self-importance’ aside, his belief – for that is what it is, a belief, alle same religion – has no place in Green policy, and no place in society if we are to survive what is ahead.

Sure, there is a need for optimism and proactivity. in leadership. Sure, that’s a difficult tight-rope, on  a planet temporarily carrying 7 billion, heading for perhaps 2 billion. Sooner or later folk will see through any horseshit. Talk of ‘the velocity of money’ won’t alleviate the problem that it is spun into existence as debt, expects the future to underwrite, and when the future clearly can’t, folk will be a tad annoyed. We are staring down the barrel of the biggest ‘value’ readjustment the planet has ever seen, and we need leaders who understand the ‘why’ of this.

I wasn’t reassured last night – not reassured at all.

 

Sir Peter Gluckman – CSA – cognitively dissonant?

Sir Peter Gluckman was on National Radio last night, giving a speech/lecture, part of a Kim-Hill-hosted series.

I’ve mentioned his lack of ability to join the dots before, hereabouts, so it was interesting to hear him joining some – quite accurately – then dropping the ball in spades.

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Orange Roughy, Fracking, and the Big Picture.

Discussion this morning on Morning Report, re Orange Roughy. Also on ‘Asset Sales’. Big Picture, we always cherry-pick resources. We didn’t start with Orange Roughy, Patagonian Toothfish, or fracking-needing oil. We started with Grand-Banks Cod – 2-man dories pulling them in over the side. We started off whacking into the Canadian Halibut, anything close, shallow and abundant.
As we deplete those prime resources, the quality diminishes, as does the return on investment (takes more effort) and concurrently the green-fields options diminish. So we end up deep-sea dangling for Orange Roughy. So we start fishing the Ross Sea. So we need to mine Schedule Four. So we need to farm our coastal water (then our deep-water).

The big picture question isn’t whether Orange Roughy is or isn’t a threatened species, it’s “where are we in total resource depletion terms; why are we here, and how long have we got from this point?”

Not a lot of media asking the question.

Another proof that we’ve hit the limits, is the need to disinvest the poor from ‘Assets’ they currently own. That’s wealth-shift within a closed system, something you only need to do if you can’t grow.

Triflation – how long now?

Triflation – how long now?

 

Four years ago, I turned to Jennie as we watched the opening ceremony of the China Olympics, and said “This is it – we’re looking at the peak of human activity”.

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Local Government – sigh. John Key – sigh. Morning Report – an ‘F’.

The local Government conference is interesting. LG is there at the behest of Central Government, as I learned as a young County Councillor. The problem comes when Central Government, instead of assessing social needs, merely pursues a dogma/mantra, this one being the impossibility of ‘sustainable growth’.  At that point, those who represent people – and Local Government will always be closer to people than Central Government – have to draw a line in the sand.

And they have. Interesting to note that the Minister backpedaled immediately – speaks volumes as to where National are going; backwards.

 

John Key addressed them, stating that Central Govt has ‘done it’s bit, belt-tightening’, and it’s up to LG to do the same. That’s bloody rich, coming from someone who seeded the Dunedin Stadium with 15 million of taxpayers money, to keep us all in debt to it forever. Presumably he didn’t see it coming. Puts some of us a long way ahead of our leader, and that’s a worry.  🙂

Morning Report ‘covered’ the LG conference this morning. And other things. They’ve had enough info (from me. for one) to know why LG costs will escalate forever from here on: all the work they do requires energy, and all their materials are oil-based. You only have to track the price of oil, to track the rates-increase needed JUST TO MAINTAIN, let alone expand.

No comprende. The last complaing I sent them – it had a lot of references etc, and was an attempt to help them learn –  they duck-shoved to a ‘complaints’ person. No feedback, no change. They didn’t real the stuff I sent. Is it a case of ‘if I don’t know something, I can dodge addressing it’?      What a sad epitaph.