Wise Response Newsletter, July 2016


Newsletter to all Wise Response Supporters

July, 2016

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?


Hello Wise Response supporter!

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:


  1. Wise Response AGM
  2. Fonterra halves the size of Studholme plant expansion at Resource Consent hearing
  3. Still waiting for the Otago Regional Council’s Policy Statement
  4. Royal Society release excellent climate change reports
  5. Royal Society Roadshow on Climate Change coming to a town near you!
  6. Dialogue on new “Climate Change Forum”
  7. Action Point: Have you yourself considered standing for a Local Body?
  8. Wise Response seeking funds to employ a manager
  9. Related articles and links from across the web

1. Wise Response AGM

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!


2. Fonterra halves the size of Studholme plant expansion at Resource Consent hearing

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:

  • Dr John Peet – Global context of limits
  • Dr Bob Lloyd – Remaining carbon budget
  • Dr Alison Dewes – Pollution threats and dynamics
  • Dr Liz Slooten – Impacts on marine ecosystems
  • Anne Te Maharoa – Dodds – Customary rights/Mahika Kai for Waitaha
  • Chris Perley – Sustainable land use

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


3. Still waiting for the Otago Regional Council’s Policy Statement

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.

4. Royal Society release excellent climate change reports

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

  1. Climate Change Implications for New Zealand http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/expert-advice/papers/yr2016/climate-change-implications-for-new-zealand/
  2. Climate change mitigation options for NZ  http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/expert-advice/papers/yr2016/mitigation-options-for-new-zealand/
  3. They have had considerable publicity and there is a road-show planned.  Effectively, they have helped translate the otherwise seemingly rather remote revelations at Paris COP21 into implications for NZ. This must be helping shift the public and political mindset. Perhaps it was those reports that convinced Paula Bennett it was time to look more closely at a assembling a Climate Forum!A third report on adaptation is underway.  What’s more, while somewhat narrower in focus than the WR Appeal for a National Risk Assessment, these studies go a long way to achieving that. Where they do not (e.g. security in finance, energy, business, environment etc) the moment we start looking at HOW we mitigate climate change, these other cultural elements will surely, willy nilly, be drawn in.Wise Response member Nathan Surendran managed to get front page coverage for the Royal Society report in the Southland region by using the conclusions regarding rainfall intensity to challenge the city council’s stance on rainwater drainage sizing. His submission and links to the news article are available here: http://bit.ly/1Y2FxXG.Our challenge to you, our supporters – could you do similar to raise awareness and put pressure on our public officials in your local area regarding inaction with respect to the limits we’re highlighting as Wise Response, including but not limited to global warming.

5. Royal Society Roadshow on Climate Change coming to a town near you!

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


6. Dialogue on new “Climate Change Forum”

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:

  1. Government briefing notes (May 2016): http://bit.ly/28Z9ua0
  2. Auckland (May 23rd): http://bit.ly/28QIoVU
  3. Wellington (June 9th): http://bit.ly/28REKcQ
  4. If you are affiliated to an environmental group and would like to to get involved in this process, please get in touch.

7. Action Point: Have you yourself considered standing for a Local Body?

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.

  • financial  (divestment and investment choices)
  • climate and energy (Royal Society reports, climate commission, renewables, infrastructure)
  • business (renewables, technical redundancy, system simplification, local self-reliance – food, skills, manufacture  technical capacity etc)
  • ecological/environmental (cohesion in landscape, carbon storage, resilience before profit)
  • wellbeing (collaboration, public service, community, networks, intergenerational justice, democracy, public service, inequality)

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/


8. Wise Response seeking funds to employ a manager

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.


9. Related articles and links from across the web

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:

  • UK Parliament’s APPG report on ‘Limits to Growth’

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.”

  • Cracks appear in the neo-liberal consensus

“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…”

  • Our Renewable Future 

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.

  • The global energy situation continues to change quickly.

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 initiative growing

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/

  • Jim Hansen paper suggests faster sea level rise possible than IPCC predictions

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.

  • Great Barrier Reef scrubbed from UN climate change report:

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