Regions grow by taking opportunities

The first release of regional GDP data shows that regions which take their opportunities had better growth.

Taranaki, Southland, and the West Coast experienced the largest increases in gross domestic product (GDP) from 2007–10, while Auckland was responsible for over one-third of the country’s economic production, new research from Statistics NZ showed.

Statistics NZ released today GDP for 15 regions across New Zealand.

“This is the first official measure of New Zealand’s regional economies. It covers the 2007 to 2010 period and so provides a useful benchmark for future analysis,” regional statistics manager Peter Gardiner said.

“The increase in economic activity over the period was mainly centred in rural regions, reflecting a strong period for the primary industries. Manufacturing slowed in 2009, contributing less to GDP in urban regions.”

Taranaki’s economy increased 46.9 percent in size over the four years, the largest increase for any region, due to expansion in oil and gas production. Supporting industries such as construction and manufacturing also increased from 2007 to 2010.

The West Coast and Southland economies also increased in size substantially, 23.8 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively. This increase was driven by dairy farming, which lifted the South Island’s overall contribution to national GDP by 0.6 percentage points to 22.3 percent. . .

All the candidates in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election have campaigned against  mineral  exploration.

On mining and balance between jobs and the environment
Meka Whaitiri: Until we have some sound research that says [mining] doesn’t have any environmental impact, I can’t support that.
Marama Davidson: Ban it! Risky off-shore drilling, mining and fracking are all industries we want to get away from. Today we are releasing a package of green jobs for Ikaroa-Rawhiti that don’t ruin our environment.
Na Raihania: I am absolutely opposed to mining and drilling our Mother Earth. And this idea it will provide jobs for everybody is stretching it.
Te Hamua Nikora: As far as mining goes, we say frack off. No thank you.

 

Their region desperately needs better growth and the jobs that come with it but it is the industry which has boosted Taranaki’s growth that they oppose.

Oil and gas production and dairying, which helped Southland and the West Coast, are industries which the Green Party would like to see less of.

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the data shows the value of regions exploring all their economic opportunities.

“It shows regions who have taken their economic opportunities, such as Taranaki, Southland and the West Coast, have significantly increased their GDP – despite the effects of the recession and the global financial crisis.

“These are regions that have successfully balanced economic growth and jobs for families in their regions while looking after the environment.” . . .

Many regions have made further progress in the three years since the period covered by the regional GDP data, as New Zealand’s national economy has built momentum on the back of a number of more positive indicators and support from the Government’s economic programme.

“It is my expectation stakeholders will want to use the regional GDP data to compare and contrast the economic fortunes of different regions around the country, and ask themselves what lessons and opportunities there are for growth and jobs in their region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes for New Zealand families better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve to their potential.”

Opposition to growth opportunities is usually based on fear of environmental consequences and ignorance of what can be done to minimise potential problems.

If we want first world education, health, other services and infrastructure we need first world incomes.

That requires more growth and doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment.

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74 Responses to Regions grow by taking opportunities

  1. robertguyton says:

    “Opposition to growth opportunities is usually based on fear of environmental consequences and ignorance of what can be done to minimise potential problems.”

    Mine isn’t. I’m intimately aware of what can be done to minimise potential problems. It isn’t enough. That’s the problem. Have you any idea at all, Ele, of what’s required to contain a blowout from a deep sea oil rig off the coast of Otago? How long do you think it would take to get the containment gear/secondary rig in place???
    I know. Do you? If not, how can you be promoting such activity, if the details of the ‘potential problems’ aren’t known to you? I believe you’ve got the whole thing back to front with your claim.
    Wanna talk dairying and check whether this ‘opposition’ knows about the efforts by industry to ‘minimise potential problems’?
    It’s not that we don’t know, it’s that we do.

  2. Andrei says:

    That requires more growth and doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment.

    This whole “environment” thing makes me laugh.

    Fiordland is pretty much “pristine” but who wants to live there? Same with Antarctica, or the Sahara etc etc etc.

    No people choose live in non “pristine” places like Auckand where there are roads, electricity, sewerage systems, fresh water on tap, where there is a reliable food supply of great variety packed on foam trays and sealed in cling film and tomatoes are available year round.

    And the biggest environmental burblers are often those who live most sheltered existences, who never encounter nature in the raw and would be totally at sea if they did

  3. robertguyton says:

    “Fiordland is pretty much “pristine” but who wants to live there? Same with Antarctica, or the Sahara etc etc etc.”

    Try asking that question of the good folk of Te Anau, Andrei. What a daft claim.

    Your other equally baseless claim that the most vocal environmentalists haven’t spent time in the natural world is complete and utter codswallop and represents the microscopic depth of your knowledge on this issue.

  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    The focus on oil and gas is a decision that the Government has made, just like the encouragement they gave to Solid Energy to borrow more and develop the lignite. Fossil fuel extraction and the expansion of dairying appear to be the only ways this Government can see our economy growing. While they may talk about other industries, all the subsidies and extra state support is generally going into these two industries (and the $12 billion into the mad motorway schemes that generally fail cost benefit analysis).

    When the Greens voice concerns at where our taxes are being invested the Government cries out that we are against development and growing jobs. This is just nonsense because the Greens are just against particular industries that may bring in some initial financial benefit but will have negative long term consequences. There are heaps of better alternatives that are more sustainable over time and will provide more jobs.

    Before Solid Energy went belly up and cost us $400 million, BERL looked at the other industries in Southland that had more long term potential and were less harmful to the environment than lignite, this is what they came up with: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/a-view-to-south-berl-report.html

    The Oil industry provides fewer jobs than most other industries (15 times fewer jobs per dollar earned than farming), the royalties we gain are less than most other countries and we would still have to pay for the extracted fuel at market rates. It cost us $50 million to clean up the oil from the Rena (a small disaster compared to an oil rig accident) and it cost many billions to try and deal with the Gulf of Mexico disaster). The Government is only expecting a $10 million insurance cover from companies involved in the dangerous deep sea exploration. One accident would destroy all the possible benefits from the industry and, as Robert says, Maritime NZ does not have the expertise and equipment to respond. What level of risk do you think is acceptable?

    Without large scale water storage and huge irrigation schemes, further dairy expansion is limited, we are already importing feed because we can’t produce enough locally to feed our growing herds. Many economists are concerned that our agricultural sector lacks diversity and therefore concentrates risk. We all know that our meat and fibre industry has potential but hasn’t been marketed well and we once grew many grains, such as oats, but don’t now. New Zealand has a gold rush mentality that always follows the big money without thinking ahead and ensuring that we are developing economic resilience.

    While the Government focuses on fossil fuel they are ignoring the potential that exists in resources like the high quality silica in Southland and the potential in adding value to the primary commodities we largely export. We also have many successful manufacturers that would love more support in expanding their markets:

    -Stabi-Craft boats from Invercargill exports heaps to Australia http://www.stabicraft.com/History.aspx
    – Hamilton Jet boats http://www.hamjet.co.nz
    -Dynamic Controls designs and makes controls for wheel chairs and mobility scooters http://www.dynamiccontrols.com
    -Sgnopsys, an exporter of electronic signs http://www.signopsys.co.nz/news/
    -Fairbrother Industries ltd-exports farm machinery all round the globe http://www.fairbrotherind.com/aboutus/
    -AEC Electronics exports a range of electronic products for civilian and military purposes http://www.aec-electronics.co.nz
    -istart a world leader of equipment used to detonate old weapons http://www.istart.co.nz/index/HM20/PC0/PV23539/EX216392/AR213102
    -Douglas Pharmaceuticals exports products to 35 countries http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/6270655/Douglas-Pharmaceuticals-expanding-exports

    To name a few.

    I agree with you Ele when you say that economic development doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment, however most of this Government’s initiatives are high risk and are at the expense of the environment. I would struggle to think of any industries more damaging and risky than coal and oil. We do have lots of better alternatives that may not provide the same financial sugar rushes as fossil fuel and milk but they do have more value over time.

  5. Andrei says:

    Try asking that question of the good folk of Te Anau, Andrei. What a daft claim

    Well being pedantic, Robert, the New Zealand Government doesn’t count the bustling metropolis of Te Anau (Pop..1899) as part of Fiordland (Pop. 48) – figures from 2001 census.

    Not that it matters – I will guarantee you that if you were to ask the average resident of Browns bay Auckland (pop. 3516) to uproot themselves and move to either Te Anau or Fiordland the vast majority but not all would politely decline.

    Your other equally baseless claim that the most vocal environmentalists haven’t spent time in the natural world is complete and utter codswallop and represents the microscopic depth of your knowledge on this issue.

    How natural is “natural” Robert Guyton?

    If I were to uproot you and dump you in Fiordland with no access to modern industrial products how long do you think you would survive? I’d give you three days at most.

  6. Viv K says:

    Growth in fossil fuel exploitation can ONLY come about at the expense of the environment. Climate change and ocean acidification are the inevitable consequences when fossil fuels are burnt. Stephen Joyce and the rest of the National party are either scientifically illiterate, or willfully and knowing choosing to damage the global climate and oceans. There are more ways to promote economic well being than just more fossil fuels, cows and roads. How dare you people think you have the right to ruin the ecosystems that support human civilisation in your selfish, short term pursuit of profit. History will, rightly, judge you very harshly.

  7. JC says:

    Thanks for posting this.. some quick thoughts:

    Northland and Gisborne regions in many ways fulfill the Green dream of being anti-mining.. not surprising therefore to see they are miniscule contributors to national gdp, have the lowest per capita gdp and health and social services loom large in their top five industries.

    A high percentage of manufacturing in regional economies that is not offset by robust mining or agriculture is also a job and salary killer for the locals.

    Some regions would be so totally stuffed if it wasn’t for increased mining and dairying. Such regions don’t have balanced economies and may be vulnerable to future shocks.

    Regions that are doing well have a top five industry in which professional, technical, science and admin are important.. leading to a belief that you need to make the best of your natural assets before you can have a lot of the better paying jobs requiring good education and training.

    Educational establishments contribute a surprising amount to regional gdps. The students might all be getting degrees in basket weaving but they still need to eat and drink and spawn a cleanup industry 🙂

    JC

  8. robertguyton says:

    Dairying aside (that’s another story) mining of coal, oil and gas is anti-biotic. No matter what the ‘economic’ argument, the bare fact remains that pulling that stuff above ground and burning it, threatens our shared future. To instigate new extractions is a despicable act.

  9. JC says:

    Oh, nonsense. Its all a matter of tradeoffs. We trade off about 0.02% deaths from coal and oil pollution (65% in Asia) for the wellbeing of the other 99.9%.

    The UK might lose some thousands per year from such pollution but authorities there are warning some 30,000 will have died there from the cold last Winter and Spring largely due to fuel poverty.

    The massive reduction in early deaths over the last 100 or so years is due to electricity in most cases generated by oil and coal and the best features of modern living owe much to such “dirty” fuels as well.

    By all means seek ways to clean up pollution but not at the cost of killing off many more from lack of power, or impoverishing millions for lack of convenient transport, industry, manufacturing and services.

    JC

  10. TraceyS says:

    Jet boats and outboards don’t run on yacht fuel Dave. Farm machinery doesn’t run on solar panels (and never will).

    And many pharmaceuticals have ingredients made from petrochemical raw materials.

  11. robertguyton says:

    Tradeoffs? TRADEOFFS? You’re willing to ‘tradeoff’ the futures of all of us for some short-term gain. Extreme weather from global warming .v. convenience that suits a spoiled modern population. Some tradeoff.
    “By all means seek ways to clean up pollution…” we’re not seeking to do that, JC, we’re attempting to stop a headlong plunge into climate chaos.

  12. robertguyton says:

    Your’ pharmaceuticals’ is a red-herring, Tracey. No one’s arguing the end to those in this debate. Farm machinery needs to change, as it/they have changed since they were first conceived. Sail-power will become more and more appropriate as we smarten-up our transport systems.

  13. Andrei says:

    LOL – I can’t wait to see a sail powered combine harvester tacking into the wind as it goes about its business

  14. JC says:

    “we’re attempting to stop a headlong plunge into climate chaos.”

    Only in your own mind.. the facts and science show the world and its climate is tacking along just fine with its 6000 year slow decline in temps interspersed with blips of higher and lower temps, the seas are carrying on their slow rise since the Little Ice Age, the Poles are are either growing (Antactica) or shrinking their ice burdens and the seas are comfortably alkaline.

    All that’s changed over the past 100 years are the words on the placards.. “We’re gonna freeze, we’re gonna fry, we’re gonna freeze, we’re gonna fry” ad infinitum.

    JC

  15. robertguyton says:

    Scything through the waving corn.

  16. robertguyton says:

    Your denials sound shrill and empty, JC, like wind-blown wheat-husks scraping across the rusted iron blades of a redundant combine harvester.

  17. TraceyS says:

    Dave’s pharmaceuticals, Robert. And no it’s not a red-herring. There people who need pharmaceuticals, just ask Viv.

  18. Viv K says:

    Whatever fossil fuels are used in pharmaceuticals will not be going into the atmosphere as CO2. I am seriously concerned about what will happen to our healthcare system in future decades if global warming continues unchecked. Droughts, floods, storms, famines, wars over water, land grabs and sea level rise will erode our children’s quality of life and make it much more difficult to access medical supplies and high tech equipment. Such short sighted thinking by the Nats, nothing but more roads, more cows and more fossil fuels. The WWF reports that 42% of NZ’s total oil consumption is diesel and that 100% of NZ’s diesel consumption could be replaced by home-grown biofuel according to crown agency research. Instead of spending $46 million supporting oil and gas.

  19. Andrei says:

    Viv, Viv, Viv,

    This phantom worry about climate change is the least of problems facing mankind – in fact the only real concern about climate change we should have is the gullibility of the human race it demonstrates and the ability of charlatan politicians and other assorted con artists to exploit that gullibility to further their own ends and feather their own nests.

    If we convert to bio-fuels as you suggest then land currently in use to produce food to fuel people will be diverted into creating expensive bio fuels for cars, trucks and other machines and this will mean that some people will go hungry!!!!!!

    This isn’t theory this is already happening in other parts of the world.

  20. TraceyS says:

    Where’s your reference for that research Viv?

    Running heavy machines on biofuel would be incredibly expensive. And then there would be massive conversion costs and wastage. Some of these motors currently in existence can last for decades if well maintained. Are you going to advocate throwing them all out in favour of the new green versions?

    And how are you going to convince all the big international manufacturers to start producing new machines with motors designed to run on biofuel? And who’s going to pay the higher costs? More importantly, HOW are they going to pay?

    Honestly, sometimes I think you must read far too many new age magazines. Next you’ll be telling us that cars, with just a few tweaks here and there, can run on water.

    If you and Robert et al. had a sensible plan then I would listen. But what you implicate is mass suffering on the way to an imaginary utopia. I just can’t fall for that. There has to be a better way.

  21. robertguyton says:

    Tracey – are you claiming that continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the air at the rate we are doing now, is a sensible plan?
    If not, then could you please get back to us with your sensible plan, so that we can have a sensible discussion?
    Andrei – your rampant denial excludes you from any sensible discussion, sorry.

  22. murray grimwood says:

    Andrei – the joke is that even if CC was a 100% hoax, the global ‘growth’ that every incumbent politicial lauds, is ending.

    It’s doing that because it was based on the extraction of finite resources, from a finite planet, using finite fossil fuels – a one-off store of solar energy which took millions of years to form, and which we’re chewing up completely within 300.

    Either this is known at Govt level, and they’re cynically milking the populace, or it isn’t – in which case they’re not competent to be in the position. No third option.

    The fiscal system, being fiat-levered, is toast earlier (when the gaussian curve levels off, an attempted doubling-time graph fails, earlier than the gaussina crest. You do know that?

    Folk will go hungry – but lay the blame where it lies, hey? With us in the first world who soak those at the bottom-end. The sustainable carrying capacity of this wee paddock, long-term, is perhaps 2 billion. If we insist in striving for ‘growth’ and folk are still silly enough to think money is more than a proxy, those 2 billion will just be worse off.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Looking-Back-on-the-Limits-of-Growth.html

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1306/S00189/growth-beyond-limits-a-system-requirement-not-policy-choice.htm

  23. Andrei says:

    Robert you want a sensible discussion OK?

    (1) What percentage of the earths atmosphere is CO2?

    (2) What percentage of the earths atmospheric CO2 burden is of human origin?

    (3) It is the greenhouse effect that makes the earth habitable, what is the major greenhouse gas in the earths atmosphere?

    (4) The last 5 million years of the earths history have been marked by two distinct climate regimes glacials (ice ages) and inter glacials (more benign periods). Glacials have tended to last 100,000 years or more whilst the inter glacials have tended to much shorter spans 10,000 or so years.

    Given the entirety of human history has occurred in the current inter glacial which is already about 12,000 years in extent i.e. slightly longer than average for such epochs what makes you think we can expect it to last for much longer (it may but it is hardly a given that it will)?

    And why are you worried about a slightly warmer and hence more benign world when it would be a colder one which would/will lead to mass death and a harder existence for mankind?

  24. robertguyton says:

    Andrei, yes, I do but this:
    “All that’s changed over the past 100 years are the words on the placards.. “We’re gonna freeze, we’re gonna fry, we’re gonna freeze, we’re gonna fry” ad infinitum.”
    Disqualifies you. Sorry.

  25. Andrei says:

    That’s not my comment my friend – see how error prone you are even in the simplest of things

  26. robertguyton says:

    You are correct, Andrei, my apologies. I’ll retire, having failed to be diligent. I ought to have used:
    “This phantom worry about climate change is the least of problems facing mankind…” which would have been even better, but I’ve blown it now, so I’ll give all of my concentration to the movie 🙂

  27. TraceyS says:

    No, I was asking where your sensible plan is because I would genuinely like to hear it. Going back to doing everything by hand isn’t reasonable and you know it. Most people are not dreaming of “scything through the waving corn”. The vast majority are worried about the issues that are right up in their faces. For example, while we argued about spying laws on Friday, the most popular news item on TVNZ’s website was the new rules for child restraints.

    Even I was surprised. But you know, most of us are just thinking about what we have got to do tomorrow. And there is a reason for that. Life is already pretty tough. Make it harder for people and their thinking will become even more short-term. One way to make things really hard for people would be to tax their fossil fuel consumption.

    I think we are stuck with oil and its derivatives in the medium-term until a more economical and environmentally friendly replacement hydrocarbon is found. You may not believe that science will provide viable alternatives, but eventually it will. Until that time we should try and make oil accessible as safely as possible for the least cost.

    That is something the environmentalists and the capitalists should work together on. But rather what we see is this constant battling against each other which denies both sides a full understanding of the realities.

  28. robertguyton says:

    Tracey – are you aware of Bill McKibbens ‘math’? His three numbers describe the necessity to act strongly, now, in order to avoid an extreme climate. Your ‘stuck with oil’ scenario is NOT one of the options. That is NOT a sensible plan. Have another go. Remember, that challenge is to avoid the globally-agreed 2
    degree point of no return.

  29. murray grimwood says:

    TraceyS – obviously you didn’t bother to peruse the links I sent. Do some homework on EROEI, We wil end up with renewables by logic/default – but they don’t scale.

    And Capital? You must have missed the debate. Money is only a proxy. It’s an expectation, at the end of the day, that it can be exchanged for goods/services. It can do as many artificial moves as it likes, multiply numerically, whatever – but if the goods/services are the same as before, the total is worth what it was before. Those consumables on those shelves, those houses and cars, are made by the doing of work, which requires the using of energy. Capital is in permanent trouble – as you can see.

    Environmentalists now fall into two camps; one lot who ‘save’ this and that, rather like Horatio backing up on the bridge. It’s a backward trip, always doomed to lose long term via lesser funding and power-broking/lobbying/collusion. The only valid reason was to buy time to educate the population. That hasn’t happened – they’re good mindless wee consumers, oblivious in the main.
    The second type realise the limits to growth, realise there’s no scalable, portable bang-per-weight fuel like oil, and that the Club of Rome were right (bit optimistic re how long finance would continue, but they weren’t expecting such leverage levels probably). That’s the Transition Towns types, us powerdown types, the guerilla gardeners, the sustainability types.

    No point in them talking to capitalists – capital is about growth, and growth is the problem.

  30. TraceyS says:

    I didn’t get time yet to have a look at your links yet, but I will.

  31. TraceyS says:

    I’m not so sure that a portable scalable replacement hydrocarbon won’t sometime be developed by scientists through the application of genetic modification. It’s already been achieved, just not scaled. Don’t you think it might not be wise to discount that possibility? Just as it might not be wise to discount global warming.

    It’s the elephant in the room Robert, because you can’t go saying this is impossible. Like global warming, nobody really knows yet. We humans don’t have a good track record with predictions. The future remains unwritten.

  32. robertguyton says:

    “The future remains unwritten”. You are denying the science, Tracey.

  33. Viv K says:

    Tracey, ‘mass suffering on the way to an imaginary utopia’ . I have no illusions about a future utopia, I am advocating for acknowledgment of the problems of climate change, ocean acidification, resource depletion and pollution. I think it is madness to blindly continue business as usual in a quest for endless growth which can not continue on a finite planet, that is the path to mass suffering. I don’t read ‘new age’ magazines, unless you count NZ gardener and NZ lifestyle block, in which Robert and Murray have columns. Please refer to WWF NZ for more info on biodiesel. I also recommend you check out Bill McKibben’s ‘do the math’, as Robert suggested. Yes it will be more difficult to run big machinery as fuel becomes more expensive, start planning for the future, transport firms should check out biodiesel options when looking to buy new plant. But the future will have to run on a lot less energy, we can either do that in a planned way or a chaotic collapse.

  34. TraceyS says:

    I won’t deny if you don’t Robert. You do a fair bit of the time, at your convenience.

  35. TraceyS says:

    It’s a circular argument Viv, because cost of fuel is critical to moving towards sustainability. Force the price up through taxes and by limiting supply through opposition to exploration and you only make it harder to achieve.

    Your statement “it will be more difficult” should be read “it will be more expensive”. And who is going to pay? The money has to come from somewhere.

    Apologies for the “new age” comment. It is just that some of your statements come across as a bit dreamy.

  36. dave kennedy says:

    Tracey, you are talking as though we need to access new supplies of fossil fuel as part of the transition away from it and yet this is just perpetuating our dependence on it. During WW2 when fuel was in short supply many people came up with functional alternatives.

    We have allowed electricity to be priced well above the cost of production and are subsidising coal. I was recently talking to a factory owner who said he was forced to use coal despite its environmental consequences because electricity was more expensive. There is currently no incentive to shift to cleaner energy and our petrol is still cheaper than the UK.

    Auckland is clogged with cars with one occupant, electricity costs continue to rise at a rate well above inflation, 90% of the Government’s transport budget is supporting roads. The market signals are all wrong and there is little money going into the research and development of alternatives.

    When Bill English was asked about the Government’s transition plan to being less dependent on fossil fuel he answered that they had none. The Government’s plan is just to wait for the market to adjust and there is no encouragement for it to do so.

    We are now behind most other countries, even China, in our investment in developing cleaner energy, we could be leading the development of solar energy since we have an abundance of the raw materials to build high quality panels.

  37. JC says:

    Who is in denial?

    Global temp has been at a standstill for about 16 years and has proved all the climate models wrong.

    Sea level rise is modest and about the same as its been for the last 100 years.

    Where are the cyclones? We havent had a Bola type event for 25 years when we expected one about every 7 years as a result of AGW.

    In 2000 snow was expected to be “a very rare and exciting event”” in the UK.. yeah right.

    Most if not all of the grim things we were told to expect from AGW have failed to materialise largely because history tells us these things have happened in the past and appear to cyclical.

    JC

  38. jabba says:

    I will carry his bags Andrei .. our bOb can’t live without material obtained from mining/drilling but he pretends he doesn’t .. he is a hoot, that’s what he is

  39. Viv K says:

    ‘The seas are comfortably alkaline’ you say JC. The seas are 30% more acidic than they were 200 years ago. You might be comfortable with that, marine creatures with shells and skeletons are not. To state that the sea is still alkaline, as if that means the change in pH doesn’t matter, suggests you have little understanding of marine biology or chemistry. If the pH of the oceans dropped below 7 we would have a very different planet. Don’t bother posting links to some undersea volcano where a few creatures have adapted to survive, I am talking about the entire oceans of the world. The change in CO2 in the last 200 years is over 30%. To say that it doesn’t matter is ignorant. A 30% increase in the dose of a medication has effects, a 30% increase in cholesterol or sugar levels has effects. Shall we increase the legal blood alcohol level by 30% and see what happens? Maybe you’ll be dead and gone by 2050, but my kids will be in their 40s and 50s and I care a lot about the state of the world we are leaving them and I will not be dissuaded by someone who clearly doesn’t give a sh*t about science, risk or ethics.

  40. jabba says:

    I can see them now bOb .. tractors with big sails hooning up and down the paddocks in Otaua and Pukekohe .. keep them coming bOb, I’m so glad you are back

  41. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey, you are talking as though we need to access new supplies of fossil fuel as part of the transition away from it…”

    Yes we do.

    We are dependent on it Dave, look around.

    How difficult is it to change dependency at an individual level let alone a global one?

  42. robertguyton says:

    Tracey – you continue to plug on and on with your ´more fossil fuels’ ideas, in the face of several people saying that more fossil fuels = a hiding for us all from the climate. Your status quo proposal will bring on a seriously dangerous situation for us all. Your defence against the suggestions here is ít’s too difficult to stop doing what we do now. The argument you oppose says, if you don’t stop, we will all suffer terribly. Too difficult to change? Mad not to.

  43. robertguyton says:

    “I can see them now bOb…”

    Ease up on the grog then, jabba. After all, it’s Sunday!

  44. TraceyS says:

    Whatever Robert. Not what I said, but whatever. You conveniently see only one side of things as it pleases you.

    Your settled science mentality will bite you on the backside one day. That I’m certain of.

  45. robertguyton says:

    Youŕe thinking new evidence will show that the Earth really is flat, Tracey?
    How silly I’m going to look when that comes out!!!

  46. JC says:

    The seas are currently the most alkaline they have been in the last 250 million years.. when shell fish first emerged, diversified and multiplied.

    http://pages-142.unibe.ch/science/scor/gfx/Ridgwell%26Schmidt2010NGeo-PastOceanAcidification.pdf

    Reef fish love CO2.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12259/abstract

    Phytoplanton don’t mind CO2 either

    http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2011/feb/22feb2011a5.html

    There’s much more like this that shows ocean acidification rhetoric is overblown.

    JC

  47. robertguyton says:

    JC asks: “Who is in denial?
    Simple answer – you.

  48. JC says:

    Those pesky science links getting to you, eh?

    JC

  49. robertguyton says:

    JC – Viv says: “The seas are 30% more acidic than they were 200 years ago.”
    You say: “The seas are currently the most alkaline they have been in the last 250 million years”.

    Who is correct?

    And, by “currently” do you mean on this date, or this century, or this millenium? After all, you’re talking geological time, aren’t you?

  50. jabba says:

    just mowed the lawns .. I ran out of petrol (true). So I found a pole, got an old sheet and made a sail in the hope I could finish them. No wind, bugger. Mmmmm, a nice Pinot will go down well right now bOb, thanks for the suggestion .. just in time to watch the league .. cheers.

  51. robertguyton says:

    Irony alert! Conventional tillage ‘creates famine’
    Where’s the irony? The article is from this week’s edition of Straight Furrow farming newspaper.
    Here’s what I read:

    “A three-year study at Massey University has confirmed overseas findings that a significant amount of carbon dioxide is lost into the atmosphere through conventional tillage.
    The study, carried out by graduate student Amandeep Singh Ghatorha, showed that tillage or ploughing loses approximately three tonnes per hectare more CO2 into the atmosphere than Cross-Slot no-tillage. This significant loss contributes to global warming and in turn, depletes the nutrients in the soil.”
    “His supervisor, Dr Craig Ross, senior scientist at Landcare Research , together with professors Surinder Saggar and Mike Hedley, said the loss from conventional tillage is serious. “Only about 20 percent of the million hectares of annual agricultural seeding in New Zealand is carried out by no-tillage, so we’re discharging about 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually, as well as reducing the organic content of our soils.”

  52. Viv K says:

    We don’t appear to be using the limited amount of fossil fuels we might safely be able to burn to build a renewable energy powered society, instead we are wasting them on grabba seat cheap air travel, sending raw materials to China and importing goods back and driving hundreds of milk tankers millions of kilometres to support an industry that is polluting our rivers. IF we could see that short term fossil fuel use was being used to prepare NZ for the future, your argument might be worth pursuing, but that is not happening.

  53. JC says:

    RG,

    “Who is correct?”

    According to Wikipedia and other sources ocean alkalinity has changed from PH 8.2 to 8.1, that of course is a tiny change. As a result of this change there has been a 30% increase in hydrogen ions but chemically speaking that is an even smaller change.

    The oceans of the world have quite major natural fluctuations in PH looks like up to 1.4 PH units in a month

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi/10.1371/journal.pone.0028983

    As for “currently”, check the link.

    JC

  54. Dave Kennedy says:

    Of course it won’t be easy to make a transition away from fossil fuels, but it is necessary and the earlier we start the better. If we leave it much longer the transition will have to be a short and painful one. We could be a world leader and actually find ourselves having an economic advantage. While few countries have embraced green change many cities have (i.e. Freiburg and Stockholm). Interestingly the transition has created economic growth:
    “One of the major and most noticeable economic impacts of the movement towards becoming an eco-city is the notable increase in productivity across existing industries as well as the introduction of new industries, thus creating jobs.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-cities

    This is in contrast to cities, like Detroit, that were based around fossil fuel.

  55. Viv K says:

    How about you contact any Marine Science department at any university in NZ JC and ask them whether or not ocean acidification is ‘overblown rhetoric’. Don’t bother coming back with conspiracy theories about grant money, marine science lecturers are not highly paid compared to university graduates who go and work for fossil fuel companies.

  56. TraceyS says:

    Oh come on Robert.

    What do you think farmers do before they sow seed directly into the ground? (often involving the use of a helicopter)

    And what sort of contraption do you think pulls the drill? Lots of men on bikes?

    Farmers are well aware of the many benefits of no till. Especially on steep ground.

    The risky thing about using research is that it is necessarily narrow in focus. The researcher actually relies on the reader to receive the findings with a broad mind and within a context, not in isolations.

    Have you ever actually worked on a real farm? You should give it a go some time. Good luck!

  57. TraceyS says:

    How did you get to Queenstown? Hang-glider?

    There’s no time to lose you know. Every drop used is another drop that needs to be produced.

    Irony much?

  58. Viv K says:

    An acid is a substance that in solution liberates H ions, a 30% increase in acidity IS a 30% increase in hydrogen ions. The pH scale is logarithmic (though perhaps you don’t know what that means either). You can continue posting links you find on denialist websites if you like, but its clear you have no idea what you are talking about. Just in case you don’t understand percentages either, a 30% increase means where there used to be 3 of something there is now nearly 4. (exactly 4 would be 33.333. % )

  59. robertguyton says:

    Stupidity much. It’s only you suggesting a sudden, absolute solution to the problem. The Greens do NOT say, cease all fossil-fuel use, and do it IMMEDIATELY, yet you are pretending that they are. Poor form, Tracey. And a very weak argument indeed.

  60. robertguyton says:

    Tracey. I’ve worked on a number of farms, the first being a mixed beef and sheep farm (steep country too) – Perrindales, Herefords and Murray Greys, of all things. The second was dairy, where I milked for a season (Freisans but mainly Jerseys), later on, I tailed, baled, rousied and generally laboured on various farms part-time. I’ve picked fruit all over the show, planted pines (even steeper land), wielded a chainsaw in pine forests, bent my back over lettuce and carrots for several market gardeners, fenced…well, a whole lot of other things too but perhaps you are getting the sense by now that I’m not entirely divorced from the rural scene. Same with the fishing industry. Lots of pack-house experience as well. Freezers, I’ve spent time in those. What else…who cares?

  61. JC says:

    “Don’t bother coming back with conspiracy theories about grant money, marine science lecturers are not highly paid compared to university graduates who go and work for fossil fuel companies.”

    Sorry, those are your “conspiracy theories” and strawmen and I haven’t mentioned them.

    There’s been some mathematical and chemical hoopla to make it appear that the oceans have become 30% less alkaline.. ain’t true. Indeed, the PH scale is logarithmic and changes can’t be reported as a percentage.

    What science we have on the matter is that PH levels have changed from 8.2 to 8.1 over about 250 years and not unexpectedly there have been no significant problems.

    JC

  62. TraceyS says:

    Quote me please Robert. Where did I say that?

    Poor form indeed.

  63. Viv K says:

    For goodness sake JC, 1st you say that the oceans have not got 30% more acidic, then you post from wikipedia which says that they have! You can express small changes in logarithmic scales as percentages, if you can do maths. Maths, chemistry and physics are not ‘hoopla’, but a working knowledge of them is needed if you want to argue the science of climate change and ocean acidification. As I pointed out before, a 30% change means there will be nearly 4 hydrogen ions where there used to be 3, that is not tiny! If CO2 emissions are not curtailed, acidity is expected to rise 150% by 2050,(google it). I’ll help you with the maths and chemistry, that means 3 times as many hydrogen ions (ie 9 where there used to be 3). The oceans will still be alkaline because 1 pH unit measures a 10x change (you know, logarithmic, like earthquakes). Arguing this with you reminds me of someone who told me that trees didn’t grow on mountains because C02 was heavier than air and it sinks.

  64. JC says:

    “An acid is a substance that in solution liberates H ions, a 30% increase in acidity IS a 30% increase in hydrogen ions.”

    Nope. It means a 30% increase of H ion moles per litre of 0.0000001 to 0.0000003, ie, 3 fifths of five eights of f*-all. Its a dishonest argument.

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/A+primer+on+pH

    “pH values above 7 are commonly referred to as “basic” (or “alkaline”). These common terms engender confusion, because a pH value does not directly reflect a quantitative measure of the concentration of bases in the solution, nor do high pH values constitute a measure of alkalinity. What is expressed by pH values >7 is still the acidity of a solution, it’s just that the acidity (H+ concentration) is very, very low (less than 10-7 (or 0.0000001) moles per liter, to be specific). To determine the alkalinity of a solution (which is related to the concentration of bases), a separate, detailed laboratory analysis must be run on the solution, so it is incorrect to characterize the change in hydrogen ion concentration as a decrease in alkalinity.”

    You’ve been taken in by hocus pocus and a failure to read beyond the headlines.

    JC

  65. Viv K says:

    You studied chemistry WHEN JC? I don’t mean when you last did an internet search? Yes, chemists measure things in ‘moles’. Yes the pH scale involves very small numbers, thats why logarithms are used. A increase in acidity has already been measured, continuing to have more acidity does matter, go ask a marine biologist. I expect now you will tell me that CO2 doesn’t matter because that is measured in parts per million, gosh a million is a big number, how could a change from 280 to 400 matter then? Duh.

  66. TraceyS says:

    The scientists caveat the difficultly in extrapolating these minute changes. Yet you do this quite readily, Viv, to come up with a disaster scenario.

    This has given me food for thought.

    In my bowl of vegetable soup I could drop four crystals of salt instead of three. In time, perhaps I could drop nine instead of three. But would that affect my health?

    We all know that salt (NaCl to be clear) is bad for our health, right? Therefore it would follow that a 30% to 300% increase would have negative consequences for me. Dire consequences.

    But would it?

    I go to the doctor and she finds that I have high blood pressure. She asks me about my habits and I admit that recently I’ve increased my salt intake by 300%. She’s clearly very worried.

    It would be very easy for her to take what is known and extrapolate this as the cause of my (hypothetical) hypertension. But it may well be my lack of exercise that is the primary cause.

    Of course if my doctor knows that my original salt intake was incredibly low (think H ions), she will no longer be concerned.

    (btw I’m also a vegetarian and don’t add salt to my food – but just for this example :))

    I hope you can see my point. Your argument that 30% increase in H ions is too much can only be logical if the baseline was also too high. Just as in my salt example.

    We haven’t fixed heart disease by warning people about the dangers of salt.

    We won’t fix ocean acidification by warning people about the dangers of CO2.

    The scientists caveat the difficultly in extrapolating these minute changes. And so should you.

  67. Viv K says:

    The 30% increase in ocean acidity measured so far is not ‘a disaster scenario’ (I never said it was), as with climate change it is future adverse effects that are the real concern. Changes in pH matter because a decrease in pH makes it harder for marine organisms to crystallise carbonate out of sea water, so they produce less robust skeletons and shells. Your salty soup analogy is based on the premise that your doctor doesn’t know the initial concentration of salt in your soup, it falls down when comparing it to ocean acidity because we do know the baseline pH of the oceans.

  68. robertguyton says:

    It might be an analogous issue, Tracey, if you were a creature that lived in soup.

  69. TraceyS says:

    Fair enough, we don’t live in vegetable soup. So lets take another fluid – the one inside our bodies. Our blood is buffered to stay anywhere between pH 7.35 and 7.45. But it can temporarily vary by much more than 0.1 unit, just like seawater does.

    However, blood has more acidity than seawater. So from pH 7.45 to 7.35, the decrease of 0.1 pH unit equates to around 163% increase in H ions in normal blood.

    Comparatively, the 0.1 pH unit decrease in seawater from pH 8.2 to 8.1 equates to only a 26% increase in H ions.

    A 0.3 pH unit decrease in seawater from pH 8.2 to pH 7.9 would still only equate to a 100% increase in H ions. In fact, seawater pH could drop to pH 7.8 (151% increase in H ions) and this would still not even be as much as relative variation in the healthy pH range of blood.

    (see: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/file/Percent+change+in+acidity)

    How much atmospheric CO2 do you think it would take to effect this level of change (0.3 pH units) in seawater?

    The following model appears to predict 700 ppm. At the current CO2 rate of increase you might be able to estimate the earliest year this level could be reached.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/18860/F3.expansion.html

    I know this analogy isn’t perfect either, but it does suggest that there is time.

  70. Viv K says:

    The pH of your blood is not a good analogy, creatures living in your soup was much closer. With ocean acidification it is the amount of calcium carbonate organisms can absorb from the solution they are living in that is affected. But since you brought up humans, think about already having a permanently raised body temperature of 0.8 deg, almost guaranteed to be 2deg higher before too long, heading for 4deg.

  71. TraceyS says:

    It is quite clear in the literature that some species might not adjust very well to these small changes, whilst others may thrive. But also there are other factors involved like pollution in general. I think the wider issues need to be considered.

    Temperature is not a good comparison with pH.

    At least I stuck to the same scale with my analogy.

  72. Viv K says:

    I’m not talking about temperature in relation to pH and ocean acidification. Thanks to global warming Earth is already 0.8deg warmer, we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground to stop it going above 2deg and no, we don’t have much time.

  73. TraceyS says:

    Then we need a replacement for oil. Most likely this will be genetically engineered. Production would sequester CO2 from the air and/or sea, reducing the problems you cite.

    And Robert is wanting to let local government regulate these activities….

  74. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind.

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