‘Coal use in Aotearoa is expanding to feed the dairy industry just when it should be dying a natural death. Fonterra’s growing use of coal makes a farce of our international climate commitments.’
‘Coal use in Aotearoa is expanding to feed the dairy industry just when it should be dying a natural death. Fonterra’s growing use of coal makes a farce of our international climate commitments.’
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.
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)
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:
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’.
Everyone who wishes to attend needs to confirm their place by emailing me at <email@example.com> 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)
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:
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:
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)
Wise 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. 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. 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.
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.
Wise Response Society Inc.
 Susan Krumdieck, “Transition Engineering”, In: Energy Solutions to Combat Global Warming, Ed: XinRong Zhang and I.
Dincer, Springer (2016) p. 647-706.
Bob Lloyd, Evidence to Fonterra Studholme Dairy Factory Expansion, Environment Canterbury, 2016.
 Andrew Winston, The Big Pivot, Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World, Harvard Business
Review Press, Boston, MA (2014).
Almost 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:
“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.”
Notes from the Mayoral Candidates Forum are available here as a PDF: Dunedin-Mayoral-Forum-Notes
Minutes from the Wise Response Society 2016 Annual General Meeting are available as a PDF here: WiseResponseFinalMinutes2016AGM.
The Society’s AGM will be held on at 3.00pm on Thursday 4th August 2016 at Landcare/GNS Building, 764 Cumberland St., Dunedin. If you have any motions, business or agenda items for it please let me know.
Attached are the annual reports from the Chairman, the Treasurer and the Auditor as well as the Agenda.
Note also that the AGM is timed to coincide with the Royal Society’s “Ten-by-Ten” presentation to explain the findings of their recent Climate Change Reports. That meeting is also being held on the 4th August at the Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum, 419 Great King Street starting at 5.30pm. The hope is that it will be more worthwhile for out of towners to make the trip and take in both!
For those of you who wish to skype in the address is <williamgeorge.lee>
Best wishes and hope to see you can make it on Thursday if you are in Dunedin.
Dugald (Secretary Wise Response Inc)
As demand for growth exceeds earth’s physical limits
causing unprecedented risks, what knowledge and changes
do we need to secure New Zealand’s future wellbeing?
The Wise Response Committee has continued to be guided by the Society’s mission statement above in ongoing initiatives at local and national level. Here’s a quick overview of our recent activities:
The Society’s AGM will be held at 3.00pm on Thursday 4th August 2016 at Landcare/GNS Building, 764 Cumberland St., Dunedin. If you have any motions, business or agenda items for it please let me know by 18 July.
The AGM is timed to coincide with the Royal Society’s Ten-by-Ten presentation to explain the findings of their recent Climate Change Reports. That meeting is also being held on the 4th August at the Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum, 419 Great King Street starting at 5.30pm. The hope is that it will be more worthwhile for out of towners to make the trip and take in both!
The Decision has been to grant the consent at Studholme, South Canterbury with 90 pages of conditions. Opposition from various submitters clearly resulted in Fonterra offering to halve the scale of the proposed plant. However, this is something of a pyrrhic victory for WR given our contention is that the entire intensive dairying model from cow pat to smoke stack is unsustainable, particularly in light of the global GHG predicament acknowledged at Paris COP21. Even at half size, the net affect of the entire operation at capacity would still be to increase NZ gross GHG by 1.5 – 2.5% when Bob Lloyds evidence was that we need to reduce annual global emissions by 5.5% year on year to stay below 2 degrees C.
Six experts for Wise Response presented evidence in opposition at the Environment Canterbury hearing on Fonterra’s proposed Studholme Dairy Factory expansion in South Canterbury. The case addressed impacts caused by the increased energy use (i.e. increased carbon emissions at a time when New Zealand needs to reduce its emissions), the intensification of dairy farming in the region, which contributes even more GHG equivalent than the burning of coal, and discharges to the freshwater and marine environments from the dairy factory and the dairy farms themselves.
Our six experts are:
All our witnesses did a stellar job. The brief summary of evidence from a couple of them is no reflection on the other submitters! The link to the submissions from all are available here: http://bit.ly/1V0JGgN.
Witness John Peet in his evidence explained that as a globe we are reaching biophysical limits of both source resources and our sink resource capacity. He reminded us that we are part of a global ecosystem with finite limits that are subject to physical laws that we ignore at our peril.
He presented the results of an analysis (supported by other credible scientists) suggesting we have reached the limits to growth of BAU model. He considers that unless we urgently shift our production and consumption behaviours away from high energy dependency and high pollution rates we are at risk of profound impacts on our economic activity and social fabric.
A palpable change in the mood of the hearing occurred when Bob Lloyd spoke, and explained the dire situation regarding climate change and CO2 emissions. He refused to be craven about reference to climate change, and said he would call it “global warming” instead. He talked for about an hour, explaining how little carbon we can burn in the future, and then challenging the commissioners to reject the application.
Dugald MacTavish (secretary) did a great summing up, putting forward a legal case based on the RMA Pt 2 for the necessity for regional councils to “promote” sustainable management of resources. He then presented a strong case for considering the co-dependence of factory and farm suppliers and challenging the Fonterra assertion that “the activity” is simply the factory. His full summing up statement can be read here: http://bit.ly/1RTwJmw
Being a submitter in opposition has provided the opportunity to highlight the unsustainable nature of dairying and following the Paris agreement, the hypocracy of development that relies of coal for its source of energy. Here’s a write up in the ODT: http://bit.ly/25Zk3k7
Following our Nov 2015 expert submissions to the hearings on the ORC Regional Policy Statement, we still await notification of the final document to be in a position to consider appealing it to the Environment Court.
Following an initiative by Wise Response (led by Alan Mark and Peter Barrett) at RSNZ Fellow’s AGM in October 2014, the Royal Society has now completed two climate change reports
The RSNZ Climate Change Roadshow venues are as below; the speakers being Drs James Renwick and Tim Naish of Victoria University. We’d ask that you promote the event near you to your networks. Attendees are asked to register at the RSNZ website:
|Hamilton | 12 noon Tuesday 5 July
Reception Lounge, Hamilton City Council, Garden Place
|Dunedin | 5.30pm Thursday 4 August
Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum, 419 Great King Street
|Rotorua | 6pm Tuesday 5 July
Mokoia Room, Millennium Hotel, 1270 Hinemaru St
|Wanaka | 6pm Friday 5 August
Presbyterian Church Hall, 91 Tenby Street
|Napier | 6pm Wednesday 6 July
Century Theatre, MTG, 9 Herschell Street
|Auckland | 6pm Tuesday 6 September
The Auditorium, Level 2 Auckland Museum, The Domain, Parnell
|Palmerston North | 7.30pm Thursday 7 July
Palmerston North Public Library, 4 The Square
|Wellington | 6pm Wednesday 7 September
Aronui Lecture Theatre, Royal Society of New Zealand, 11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon
|Christchurch | 6.30pm Wednesday 3 August
C1 LT, Central Lecture Theatre Block, University of Canterbury, Arts Road
|Nelson | 7.30pm Thursday 8 September
Elim Christian Centre, 625 Main Road, Stoke
Those of us who attended the Wise Response Workshop at Wgtn on January 27th to discuss promoting a “Climate Commission” will no doubt be pleased that Victoria University have decided to start that process.
Adrian Macey (Institute for Governance and Policy Studies) has invited representatives from a number of groups/sectors to help develop TOR for a “Climate Change Forum” (CF). Accompanying the invitation was an initial outline of concept ideas for the Forum.
We consider environmental groups need to be fairly represented, with a good support network and sound guiding recommendations. We are about to invite representatives from the groups who attended the workshop to participate in a conference on the internet (Loomio) with the aim of reaching some agreement on the fundementals for partipating in a CF. This will test the practicality of using this type of technology to improve the coherence and power of the environmental voice in NZ – the other main recommendation from the workshop.
Here are the links to the govt briefing paper and the notes from the sessions taken by the facilitators Adrian Macey and Colin James:
One option is to encourage existing candidates to adopt ideas from the 5 main risk areas as part of their policy platform. But alternatively, how about running as a candidate yourself, as a way to raise awareness of the Wise Response appeal to better address systemic risks through policy? Nominations close nationwide noon 12 August 2016.
A couple of our committee members have indicated that they intend to stand – Nathan Surendran for Environment Southland and Russell Tregonning for Wellington Regional Council (http://rjattrue.blogspot.co.nz).
Some on the WR list have been exchanging ideas on how the five key points of the Wise Response Risk Appeal might look as a set of policy points (with some related issues covered below in brackets), if individual candidates wish to adopt them.
If you are interested in a mutually supportive policy discussion on this issue, we’re happy to facilitate an exchange of ideas using Loomio.
There are other excellent guidelines on the internet of course, an example being here: https://nertnetwork.org/the-concept-paper-on-region-wide-resilience/
We think as a Society we have done pretty well so far on purely voluntary input but now have reached something of a plateau. Progress will be difficult unless we can arrange some regular dedicated input to maintain momentum and see initiatives through.
The Committee have thus agreed to try and raise funds for a permanent employee for perhaps 2 days a week. We estimate that this will require a minimum of $25,000 for each of two years as a pilot. We have a programme of work that such an employee would undertake. So please give some thought to this and if you have any ideas as to possible sources (philathropic or funds) please let us know.
In the meantime we are delighted to advise that we will be hosting 3rd year student Jule Barth as an intern for the last term of 2016. Jule is completing a BA with a major in Geography and a minor in English at Otago University. We have agreed a list of ranked activities with her so you can expect to see Jule’s name linked to future activities from time to time.
This list of links from around the web speak to the risks and solutions being discussed globally in the areas of financial, climate and energy, business, ecological, and wellbeing risk:
In a close parallel to the Wise Response appeal’s recommended approach, UK parliamentarians have convened an ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’.
…the new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Limits to Growth, whose members consist of Conservative, Labour, Green and Scottish National Party members of parliament, reviews the scientific literature and finds that the original model remains surprisingly robust.
Authored by Professor Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey, who was Economics Commissioner on the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission, and former Carbon Brief policy analyst Robin Webster, the report concludes that:
“There is unsettling evidence that society is tracking the ‘standard run’ of the original study — which leads ultimately to collapse.”
A further article by Jonathan Porritt provides further helpful commentary: Rediscovering the limits to growth debate:
Prof Tim Jackson, author of the APPG report ‘Limits Revisited’ has been named the 2016 Hillary Laureate by the Hillary Institute of International Leadership:
Announced today, the 2016 Hillary Laureate, Tim Jackson’s takeaway is “achieving prosperity in a world of environmental and social limits.”
…Prosperity without Growth counterpoints the conventional wisdom of prosperity equating to expansion of GDP with the challenge of decoupling economic activity from environmental impact, outlining a vision for lasting prosperity on a finite planet.
“We have to reconceive investment so that it’s not about the relentless and mindless pursuit of consumption growth. Rather we must invest in the idea of a meaningful prosperity, providing capabilities for people to flourish. Of course it’s nonsense to speak of prosperity if people don’t have food, clothing and shelter – but prosperity goes beyond material concerns – it has social and psychological aims – family, friendship, commitment, society. Ultimately investment in the new economy has to protect the ecological assets on which our future depends.”
“For so long mainstream economists and policymakers have denied the very existence of such a thing as neoliberalism, dismissing it as an insult invented by gap-toothed malcontents who understand neither economics nor capitalism. Now here comes the IMF, describing how a “neoliberal agenda” has spread across the globe in the past 30 years.
…The results, the IMF researchers concede, have been terrible. Neoliberalism hasn’t delivered economic growth – it has only made a few people a lot better off. It causes epic crashes that leave behind human wreckage and cost billions to clean up…”
The Post Carbon Institute has recently published a new book, available free online: www.ourewnewablefuture.org
It’s sobering conclusion:“There is probably no credible future scenario in which humanity will maintain current levels of energy use.”
Transition to 100% renewable energy? Sure.
Maintain current levels of growth and consumption? Not gonna happen.
Wise Response supporter University of Canterbury’s Prof Susan Krumdieck contributed to this book, and is also promoting the ‘Global Association of Transition Engineering’ www.transitionengineering.co.nz as a positive response by the global engineering community to the issues raised in the book.
Jeremy Leggett gave this 38 minute presentation in early June 2016, and it gives a thorough overview of recent developments in the ongoing story of changes in our global energy outlook. The talk is titled ‘The Winning of The Carbon War:
Commonly used models forecast by predicting demand rather than supply, which only works if total supply continues to increase. Commentator with an actuarial background, Gail Tverberg unpacks this key message from energy industry analyst Steve Kopits:
OUR CHILDREN’S TRUST has launched strategically placed and youth driven legal proceedings in federal and state courts and agencies, and in many other countries. Our youth simply ask their governments to establish enduring protection for our atmosphere through enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans…
Check their site and watch the 4 minute movie of the guys in the van and tell us thats not inspiring! http://ourchildrenstrust.org/
This paper, (Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, March 2016), presents evidence that fresh water from melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica is beginning to change the way that heat moves around in the global ocean, setting up feedbacks that will melt the ice faster. This in turn will lead to much more rapid sea level rise than suggested in the recent IPCC report, and much bigger temperature contrasts between warm and cold oceans in the North Atlantic and around West Antarctica — which will drive the mid-latitude superstorms… We recommend you watch Jim’s video.
Last year I was asked to review an international scientific report on the impacts of climate change on World Heritage sites and tourism. I reviewed a case study on the Great Barrier Reef, focussing on the increasing risks to tourism from climate change. Overnight the report was released – but mysteriously, the Great Barrier Reef chapter had been cut completely. I was astonished, given we’ve just witnessed the worst coral bleaching event in the Reef’s history…
Best wishes from the Wise Response Society Inc Committee
Sir Alan Mark, Bob Lloyd, Brian Turner, Pat Scott, Donna Watson, Emma Neale, Janet Stephenson, Jim Simpson, Jocelyn Harris, John Cocks, Lewis Verduyn, Liz Slooten, Mark Jackson, Nathan Surendran, Philip Temple, Rob Lawson and Dugald MacTavish
Patron: Sir Geoffrey Palmer
The report is available here as a PDF (4MB)
“A report commissioned on behalf of a cross-party group of British MPs authored by a former UK government advisor, the first of its kind, says that industrial civilisation is currently on track to experience “an eventual collapse of production and living standards” in the next few decades if business-as-usual continues.
The report published by the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Limits to Growth, which launched in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening, reviews the scientific merits of a controversial 1972 model by a team of MIT scientists, which forecasted a possible collapse of civilisation due to resource depletion.
The report launch at the House of Commons was addressed by Anders Wijkman, co-chair of the Club of Rome, which originally commissioned the MIT study.
At the time, the MIT team’s findings had been widely criticised in the media for being alarmist. To this day, it is often believed that the ‘limits to growth’ forecasts were dramatically wrong.
But the new report by the APPG on Limits to Growth, whose members consist of Conservative, Labour, Green and Scottish National Party members of parliament, reviews the scientific literature and finds that the original model remains surprisingly robust.
Authored by Professor Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey, who was Economics Commissioner on the UK government’s Sustainable Development Commission, and former Carbon Brief policy analyst Robin Webster, the report concludes that:
“There is unsettling evidence that society is tracking the ‘standard run’ of the original study — which leads ultimately to collapse. Detailed and recent analyses suggest that production peaks for some key resources may only be decades away.”
The 1972 team used their system dynamics model of the consumption of key planetary resources to explore a range of different scenarios.
As Professor Jackson and Webster explain in the new APPG report:
“In the standard run scenario, natural resources (for example oil, iron and chromium) become harder and harder to obtain. The diversion of more and more capital to extracting them leaves less for investment in industry, leading to industrial decline starting in about 2015. Around 2030, the world population peaks and begins to decrease as the death rate is driven upwards by lack of food and health services.”
Not all the model’s scenarios result in this outcome, but the majority of them “show industrial output declining in the 2020s and population declining in the 2030s. The researchers didn’t put precise dates on their projections. In fact, they deliberately left the timeline somewhat vague.”