For reasons unknown to me, I was quoted in The Herald the other week: Beyond the horizon: The future isn’t what it used to be
“Dr Jez Weston, an expert on the interaction between environmental science and society, reckons it will be possible for us to radically change our way of life to meet environmental challenges; the question is whether we will be prepared to.
“The choices we make for ourselves are about energy, infrastructure, immigration, and vulnerability to the climate and to the rest of the world,” he says. “Those are all choices and I expect we’ll choose to muddle along.”
More use of renewable energy will mean cheaper electricity, but the price of oil will continue to climb. “I’m not someone who believes that we’ll suddenly run out,” says Weston. “There’s plenty of unconventional oil, vast amounts of gas and coal that can be turned into petrol and diesel. Instead, it’ll just be more expensive and increasingly loaded with carbon taxes.”
Weston predicts that extreme weather events will become frequent and sometimes “frightening”. But greater expertise in pest eradication could save some threatened species and advances in DNA science could even see extinct creatures such as the moa and the huia brought back to life.”
So yeah, that’s a journalist’s summary of what I said. To focus those comments in on what I mostly care about, namely how we as a global society are choosing to deal with climate change, I’d say we have the technology to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our overall footprint. If we don’t, then there we’re likely to be looking at climate change that will be bearable for developed countries and hard to bear for undeveloped countries. We’ll also be facing a small chance of really harsh climate change, with major increases in average temperature, drastic increases in peak temperatures and a possibly unbearable increase in droughts, floods, and overheating in many nations. What “small” means, we’re still arguing about, but we’re looking at maybe a 2%, maybe a 5% chance of enough warming to put civilisation at risk. That’s the risk face by not really doing very much about reducing emissions. And we’re choosing to accept that risk.
I’m not terribly happy about that, but that’s what I mean by “choosing to muddle along”.
Anyway, in other news, our Ministry of Social Development have not been choosing to muddle along. They’ve been screwing it up, with a security breach that let’s anyone walk in off the street and use publicly-accessible terminals to access far too much of the information that they hold on every beneficiary in NZ. Fraud claims, names and locations abused kids, what medication those kids where on. Ffs, IT security fuckups don’t get much worse than that.
This was exposed by Keith Ng, an independent journalist. Right now, there are no good business models for good journalism. Newspapers are dead and TV news isn’t much better. Strong, honest, and uncorrupt nations require strong, honest, and uncorrupt journalism. That requires someone to pay journalists to do the right thing. That someone is you. Give Keith money. I have.