March for Science across NZ – April 22nd 2017

In support of Scientist’s across the Globe..

Sign up on the international website to support your local event (Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin)

The Dunedin Science Rally is in the Museum Reserve: 11.00 – 2.00pm.

Speakers include Mayor Dave Cull, Metiria Turei and Sir Alan Mark.

A Press Release with details of this event is available as a PDF here: Dunedin_MFS_Press_Release

WR Climate Workshop – Wellington, 12 Feb 2017

Wise Response Mediated Participatory Climate Modelling Workshop

 

Hi  – This is for anyone who might be interested in joining a workshop on “mediated participatory climate change modelling” this Sunday 12 February, 1- 5pm at Forest and Bird Office, 205 Victoria St, Te Aro, Wellington Central.   There are a few remaining places and it seems a pity not to fill them if there is the interest.  There is no charge.

Attendees
It will be suitable for virtually anyone wanting to know more about climate change and the nature and level of change we would need to make to stay below the 2 degrees above pre-industrial average agreed in Paris (i.e. laypeople, students, educators, consultants, public servants, policy makers, negotiators, politicians etc)
Workshop outline
This will be a participatory workshop run by Dr David Rees and Dr Marjan van den Belt on modelling climate change scenarios. The workshop will be built around “World Climate”, a climate negotiation role-playing exercise that puts people into the role of negotiators at the UN Climate talks. Utilising a computer simulation model of the dynamics of the climate system that has influenced the actual global negotiations, the exercise explores the science and geopolitics of international agreements.

People, as representatives of different countries and country groupings will be able to put forward their commitments and, by using the simulation model, see how they affect future trajectories. The model will also be used to show the impact of current INDCs on global temperature, sea level and other key indices.  Building around this core exercise David will:

  • Introduce the nature and size of the task confronting us and the effectiveness of mitigation options.
  • Provide insight into the role that dynamic simulation models can play in increasing understanding and building consensus.
  • Provide insights as to what climate models are available (including ‘micro-models’ that apply more locally), how they have been used by others for wider education purposes.
  • Reflect on both the potential and pitfalls of these tools for wider impact through education and consensus-building

Dr David Rees is a founding partner of Synergia and was a Director from 1999 to 2009. He combines his extensive facilitation skills with a range of systems methods to help individuals and groups better understand the complex systems within which they live and work, and their ability to design effective systems that effect change. Working with public and private sector clients both here and overseas, and in universities, David utilises qualitative systems methods and quantitative simulation models to guide his consulting and research work in the areas of health, social services and energy sustainability.

A/Prof Marjan van den Belt is Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) at Victoria University. She is an Ecological Economist and recent participatory research projects focussed on shifting conversations by making visible the (investable) benefits people get from ecosystems if we work with ecosystems rather than undermining their capacity to function properly. This applies to cities, rivers, oceans and coastal zones as well as the atmosphere. Marjan has build several energy models and wrote a text book on ‘mediated/participatory modelling’.

Registration
Everyone who wishes to attend needs to confirm their place by emailing me at <dugald@es.co.nz> no later than Saturday evening.  An alternative is to video link in on skype in which case we would need a skype address.

Sir Alan Mark and Dugald MacTavish (Tel 03 439 4824)

(For Wise Response Inc)

Climate Change Workshop rescheduled for Wellington, 12th/13th February 2017

WR_Logo_trans_whiteHow does civil society best help NZ honour Paris COP 21?

Hi – this is to confirm that Wise Response Inc have rescheduled and expanded the 14 Nov Climate Change Workshop (cancelled due to the Quake) for Sunday 12 and Monday 13 February 2017.   We are again inviting the representatives of groups who were at the first workshop in January 2016, those who have been assisting with the “Position Paper” development and others we know of who we think may be interested in representing a group or have a special interest.

Sunday 12th Workshop (1.00pm – 5.00pm)
Climate change modelling as a tool:
This will be a participatory workshop run by Dr David Rees on modelling climate change scenarios. The workshop will be built around “World Climate”, a climate negotiation role-playing exercise that puts people into the role of negotiators at the UN Climate talks. Utilising a computer simulation model of the dynamics of the climate system that has influenced the actual global negotiations, the exercise explores the science and geopolitics of international agreements. People, as representatives of different countries and country groupings will be able to put forward their commitments and, by using the simulation model, see how they affect future trajectories. The model will also be used to show the impact of current INDCs on global temperature, sea level and other key indices.  Building around this core exercise David will:

  • Introduce the nature and size of the task confronting us and the effectiveness of mitigation options.
  • Provide insight into the role that dynamic simulation models can play in increasing understanding and building consensus.
  • Provide insights as to what climate models are available (including ‘micro-models’ that apply more locally), how they have been used by others for wider education purposes.

Monday 13th Workshop (9.00am – 4.30pm – note earlier start)

The programme will be similar to that which was planned for November, as most of the speakers have kindly made themselves available again for February and is primarily directed at confirming the NGO position paper (see attached draft) and determining a strategy for its promotion.

Programme will include:

  • Welcome: update, objectives and approach – Sir Alan Mark, Dugald MacTavish
  • Quantifying the challenge: Review climate change modelling workshop and implications – Nathan Surendran
  • Psychology: resolving differing worldviews and values – Assoc Prof Niki Harre
  • Public health: perspectives on “fair share” and wellbeing – Dr Alex MacMillan and Dr Scott Metcalfe
  • Policy: International and local initiatives – Dr Adrian Macey
  • Economy and finance: purpose, hurdles and opportunities – Assoc Prof Marjan van den Belt
  • Legal and constitutional: hurdles and opportunities – Dr Catherine Iorns
  • Collaborative process: effective participation – Dr Roger Blakeley
  • Position Paper: review, confirmation and influencing strategy – Wise Response team

Links between workshops: The Sunday Modelling Workshop is intended to provide a firm foundation for understanding the scientific and political challenges for the Monday workshop.  The first session on Monday will briefly review the outcomes of Sunday’s workshop, but this will be no substitute for participating.  We would therefore strongly encourage you to attend both days if at all possible.  If we need to restrict numbers, preference will be given to those attending both.

Registration: Could everyone who wishes to attend (even those of you who were registered for the November workshop) please confirm with both Alan and Dugald whether it will be both or one or other of the workshops (or to Skype in).  If you know of other NGO groups who might be interested in being represented, please pass this on.

Venue: We will confirm the venue in Wellington for these workshops in the new year as there is still considerable uncertainty over options after the quake. We were fully subscribed for the November Workshop, so we will try and accommodate a few more this time if we can.  At this stage we anticipate there will be the facilities to Skype in to both workshops.

Travel and Accommodation: You will need to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements.  Before booking please confirm with us that you are registered.

We think this will be a highly informative and important event and hope you can attend and contribute.  We will send out a more details nearer the dates.

Meanwhile, best wishes for an enjoyable Xmas,

Alan Mark and Dugald MacTavish

(For Wise Response)

WR Letter to Government requesting a formal body dedicated to addressing the causes of climate change

WR_Logo_trans_whiteWise Response Society Inc.,
c/o Alan F. Mark, FRSNZ, KNZM,
205 Wakari Rd.,
Hon Paula Bennett, Helensburgh,
Minister of Climate Change Issues, DUNEDIN.
Parliament House, 12 December 2016
WELLINGTON. Your reference 16-m-1360

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Dear Minister Bennett,
We congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Prime
Minister. The purpose of this letter is to give our Society’s support to the Climate
Change Adaptation Technical Working Group you have appointed, and to encourage
you to continue to take a leadership position by also establishing a forum to address
mitigation, and invite you to our rescheduled NGO’s climate change workshop.

We thank you for your letter of 11 November 2016 indicating you would be unable to
attend the NGOs climate change workshop on 14 November, which was postponed due
to the severe earthquake that day. We hope you can join us on Monday 13 February
2017. We are also holding a participatory climate change modelling workshop on the
afternoon of Sunday 12 February to work on scenarios.

The Wise Response Society would like to applaud your leadership in establishing the
Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group. The need for adaptation will
continue to grow. Global warming impacts are already being felt and the transient
response of the climate to the energy balance shift caused by increased
accumulation of green house gases is at least 30 years. This means that even if
emissions were halted today, climate impacts will worsen for decades.

We were encouraged by this statement in your letter:
“We need to make emissions reductions all across the economy and I believe
we, as a country are up for the challenge. I am considering ways to come up
with a long term plan to reduce emissions. I want people to start thinking past
just the next few years, right out to 2050 and beyond”

We agree absolutely that insufficient attention has been directed so far at what we
can do to reverse known causes of climate warming. However, the terms for the
Adaptation Working Group do not permit it to consider mitigation nor to develop
policy recommendations for reducing emissions.

Fossil fuels are used in all sectors of society. We acknowledge the political and
economic difficulty of addressing the reduction of transport fuel use, coal burning,
agricultural practices and land use. We urge you to consider that due to New
Zealand’s remoteness, culture of resilience, and bent for innovation, our companies
and organisations could be some of the first in the world to find profitable new
enterprises for accomplishing the energy transition and ecological recovery.[1] Such
enterprise would help offset costs and risks associated with emissions reduction.

The Nationally Determined Contributions declared at Paris will almost certainly not
be adequate to keep global warming below 2deg. C. above pre-industrial levels. The
internationally agreed pathway would require at least 5% reduction in emissions
year-on-year from 2016.[2] This level of reduction in fossil fuel consumption and
land use change will require innovative transitions in transportation demand,
agriculture practices and business operations, and consumer behaviour, as well as
social expectations and values. The next five years will be a critical period for
creative and heretical innovation.[3]

Underscoring the situation is the fact that at any time, a tip-over point will be
reached where feedback loops – such as methane emissions from thawing
permafrost and more heat absorption in an ice-free Arctic – might make remedy
impossible. This means so much is at stake now that our best chance of a solution is
if all New Zealanders and political persuasions are availed of the bald facts about
mitigation options and their implications, as soon as possible and no matter how
politically or economically unpalatable they may be.

We thus ask that you urgently establish an additional forum focused on identifying
adequate and “just” mitigation measures that could operate in parallel with the
Adaptation Group. This way, elements common to both could be exploited to best
advantage and an integrated plan developed.

To address the range of practice outlined above, the terms for a new working group
would not only need to include a mix of specialist scientists, engineers and
businesses, but also the likes of young people, social leaders and behaviour
specialists. We would like to offer dialogue with our Society’s members to explore
innovative ideas and new ways that research and development could drive the
transition and how the forum might best operate.

We are very hopeful that you (or any new Minister of Climate Change Issues) and
ministry staff might be able to join our 13 February sponsored workshop, as it will
include discussion on mitigation and testing whether participatory mediated
modelling might provide a helpful way to build consensus on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,
Alan Mark,
Chairperson,
Wise Response Society Inc.

[1] Susan Krumdieck, “Transition Engineering”, In: Energy Solutions to Combat Global Warming, Ed: XinRong Zhang and I.
Dincer, Springer (2016) p. 647-706.
[2]Bob Lloyd, Evidence to Fonterra Studholme Dairy Factory Expansion, Environment Canterbury, 2016.
[3] Andrew Winston, The Big Pivot, Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World, Harvard Business
Review Press, Boston, MA (2014).

Marrakech Climate Action Proclamation

cop22-in-marrakechAlmost 200 countries met in Morocco for the annual UN gathering, against the backdrop of the rapid ratification and entry into force of the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change deal. The Paris Agreement became international law on 4 November 2016, less than a year after it was adopted. This enabled the Marrakech conference to convene the first ever meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.

The Marrakech climate conference (COP22), dubbed the Action and Implementation COP, set out to demonstrate that commitments made in Paris last year are being put into practice, and to act as a catalyst for further action. One of the key outcomes was the following proclamation:

 

Marrakech Action proclamation for our climate and for sustainable development

“We, Heads of State, Government, and Delegations, gathered in Marrakech, on African soil, … issue this proclamation to signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond.

We welcome the Paris Agreement, adopted under the Convention, its rapid entry into force, with its ambitious goals, its inclusive nature and its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, and we affirm our commitment to its full implementation.

Indeed, this year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in many multilateral fora. This momentum is irreversible – it is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels.

Our task now is to rapidly build on that momentum, together, moving forward purposefully to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts, thereby benefiting and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority.

We call for strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and underscore the need to support efforts aimed to enhance their adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability.

We call for all Parties to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.

We call for urgently raising ambition and strengthening cooperation amongst ourselves to close the gap between current emissions trajectories and the pathway needed to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

We call for an increase in the volume, flow and access to finance for climate projects, alongside improved capacity and technology, including from developed to developing countries.

We the developed country Parties reaffirm our USD 100 billion mobilization goal.

We, unanimously, call for further climate action and support, well in advance of 2020, taking into account the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries, the least developed countries and those particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.

We who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol encourage the ratification of the Doha Amendment.

We, collectively, call on all non-state actors to join us for immediate and ambitious action and mobilization, building on their important achievements, noting the many initiatives and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action itself, launched in Marrakech.

The transition in our economies required to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement provides a substantial positive opportunity for increased prosperity and sustainable development.

The Marrakech Conference marks an important inflection point in our commitment to bring together the whole international community to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.

As we now turn towards implementation and action, we reiterate our resolve to inspire solidarity, hope and opportunity for current and future generations.”

Seeking Consensus on a Response to Climate Change

Wise Response have been working with a number of other NGO’s to develop a joint ‘Position Paper’ on climate change issues to a ‘preliminary proposal’ stage. We have been running a discussion on Loomio (a platform for a collaborative process to achieve a consensus-based decision), to canvass the views of the 18 environmental NGOs we had at a workshop we ran in Wellington last January, as well as any like-minded organisations. Phase One of this exercise is now complete and available on a dedicated website: http://www.climateconsensus.nz/

We are canvassing both comments and support for this proposal up until October 24 from which we will prepare a proposed final statement and further discuss this at a meeting in Wellington on November 14, when the group of representative environmental NGO’s and like-minded organisations will finalise the statement. The statement will be used to provide a strong sustainable voice for sustainable social and environmental outcomes in any government policy development and could be submitted to the Government as a representative position statement for the all of the signatory organisations and individuals.

You support for this procedure would be welcomed and I would appreciate any responses and/or comments you may have at this time.

Regards, Sir Alan Mark and Dugald MacTavish (for Wise Response)

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