Busting the Top 3 Fossil Fuel Industry Myths

November 2, 2015

The Non-Plastic Maori

***This opinion piece was originally written for the Gisborne Herald, the newspaper for our region – which is currently debating the potential costs and benefits of allowing fossil fuel exploration off our coastline – at first I was asked for the references that informed my opinions, and upon supplying them, was told that I draw too long a bow. Rather than edit what I genuinely believe to be fair conclusions from the available science, I’ve opted to blog instead.
Self-censorship has never been my strongpoint.***

Although climate change has been discussed and debated for a number of decades, since 2009 the scientific community have managed to reach consensus around a range of climate change facts.

Like many other issues, it will often take a little bit of time for that consensus to reach a similar level of acknowledgement among the general populace, who are more susceptible to economic and political…

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Oil and Gas retreating for now, but no time for complacency

October 17, 2015

Climate Justice Taranaki

In the last month we have seen oil giant Shell pulled out of the Arctic and postponed its 2015 drilling programme in NZ’s Great South Basin indefinitely. Two weeks ago, Tag Oil announced cutting its 2016 spending by nearly 30% and delaying its work in NZ until next financial year or “until we see better oil pricing“. This is good news for the children and parents of Norfolk school where Tag Oil had planned to drill just 600m away, at least for now.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Taranaki voices excluded from parliament

September 17, 2015

An appalling miscarriage of justice …. we need to hear that some compensatory action has been taken such as delivering by hand copies to members of the select committees, with confirmation from the members themselves that they received (and read) them.

Climate Justice Taranaki

“Our group Climate Justice Taranaki confirmed today that Taranaki voices have been excluded from parliament for months with the region’s submissions being lost in cyberspace” says Climate Justice Taranaki spokesperson Urs Signer.

“When making submissions last week on the EPA (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill, we noticed that our group’s submission on this bill, as well as those from individuals in Taranaki, were not received when using parliament’s designated submission form. We then realised that the select committee also did not receive our submissions made in April, on the EEZ Amendment Bill which allows STOS and other oil companies to continue their operations before decisions of their marine consent applications and/or any subsequent objections or appeals are made.”

“Parliamentary Services has now acknowledged that people selecting ‘Taranaki’ as the region they reside in when using the parliament.nz submission form never had a chance to have their opinions heard by MPs…

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Switched On Tours

August 4, 2015

Sustainable Wellington Transport

switched on stickerHaving been sidelined by a mix of winter illness and heavy workload*, I crawled out from under my rock a couple weeks ago to go for a bike ride. Not just any ride, but as a guinea pig for Switched On Bikes‘ tours. It was my reward for contributing some money as part of the their PledgeMe campaign. That, and stickers!

That Saturday morning was sunny and cold, which seemed to be the perfect combination for riding around Evans Bay. As it turned out, electric bikes can give enough extra boost that I didn’t really warm myself up with the activity. More on this shortly.

There were three of us on the ride. Ryan, from Switched On Bikes, was leading a pair of us around the harbour and back as a way of play-testing the tours that they’re offering, fine tuning the pacing, touristy informational stops and…

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Why EIA, IEA, and BP Oil Forecasts are Too High

July 5, 2015

Oil prices need to be $130 for oil supply to hold steady or grow. However, that is a too high price to pay in the global recessionary economy, so watch for a steadily tightening economy.

Our Finite World

When forecasting how much oil will be available in future years, a standard approach seems to be the following:

  1. Figure out how much GDP growth the researcher hopes to have in the future.
  2. “Work backward” to see how much oil is needed, based on how much oil was used for a given level of GDP in the past. Adjust this amount for hoped-for efficiency gains and transfers to other fuel uses.
  3. Verify that there is actually enough oil available to support this level of growth in oil consumption.

In fact, this seems to be the approach used by most forecasting agencies, including EIA, IEA and BP. It seems to me that this approach has a fundamental flaw. It doesn’t consider the possibility of continued low oil prices and the impact that these low oil prices are likely to have on future oil production. Hoped-for future GDP growth may not be possible…

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Where exactly is my bus?

June 10, 2015

Real Time information is getting strong advocacy from a number of switched on players which will result in some really useful upgrades… read on

Sustainable Wellington Transport

Greater Wellington rolled out RTI on the bus network back in 2011 and it’s been hobbling along for years. We still see lots of services showing scheduled times on displays and event tracking is horrible at best. There is still work being done, though. I recently took a look at Metlink’s Android widget and they’ve just released an iPhone app.

I’ve been holding a copy of the March 2015 quarterly report from Greater Wellington for a while and there is a bit of info in there on the RTI system as well.

GWTransport2015Q3_RTI1

When I spoke to GW officers about RTI issues last year, they indicated that a good portion of the tracking issues related to operator errors, as in drivers. They were hoping that training would solve most of those problems. Since then, I highlighted another issue that stemmed from buses being shuffled between routes which caused prediction…

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Greater Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan

May 3, 2015

Sustainable Wellington Transport

On his personal blog, GW Councillor Paul Bruce offers his views on the Regional Land Transport Plan.

On the positive side, fellow regional councillors rejected the Takapu link road in a Petone to Grenada report preceeding the consideration of the full Plan.

However, Council voted for the Regional Land Transport Plan exactly as updated following the hearing of submissions.

As the DomPost reported, several cycling projects were bumped back up the priority list by the hearing committee, though Nguaranga to Petone Cycleway remained one step below its position in 2013′s RLTP plan, and proposed cycling expenditure is also still only 1.3% of proposed new investment.

The sections of the Plan on cycling and walking are particularly well written.  Resilient transport networks are discussed.  However, there are no recommendations on fixing the the broken link at Wellington Railway station, where an extension to the south through the CBD to Newtown and Kilbirnie, would…

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WCC Cycling Framework

April 27, 2015

Sustainable Wellington Transport

The upcoming WCC full council meeting has one major agenda point, the Wellington Cycling Framework. It’s a big issue and likely going to be a long meeting anyway. In the lead-up to this point, we’ve seen council unanimously increase the cycling budget to $4.3/year and the central government allocate the $100 million Urban Cycleways Fund. At the same time, we’ve seen councillors collude and stifle progress on the Island Bay cycleway. As it stands, it’s not going to be an easy vote, despite the consultation on the long term plan saying the cycleways are a high priority and cyclists voting with their bodies, even on poor infrastructure.

The framework described in the report looks to reverse some of the additional overheads of having full council voting on cycleway projects.

WCF Streamlining

This looks like a shot across the bow of the councillors who’ve sided against the Island Bay Cycleway. By failing to…

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Rafael Joudry of Atamai ECO Village: Building Sustainable communities

April 27, 2015

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Public meeting  Friday 1st May 5.30pm 166A Cuba Street (In Good Co)
Informal discussion 2nd May RSVP 02102719370 

Rafael Joudry of Atamai Village, will share some real life examples
of a pioneering project for sustainable living on a village scale

Topics includes

  • How to set up a sustainable settlement
  • Our forms of social structure, enterprise and self-governance.
  • Human scale settlement
  • Resilience
  • Permaculture
  • Energy, transport, water, food and biomass

Their pioneering project for sustainable living involves rethinking or introducing new ways of doing things, including the use of appropriate technology through out the village, as they form social structures, enterprise and self-governance on a human scale settlement.  Rafaele, an international speaker and author, is sharing Atamai’s journey, as the village builds sustainable dwellings, lifestyles, community structures and infrastructure.  

Learn more at www.atamaivillage.org

Rafaele Joudry, has spent several years in the environment movement and was a Non Violent Action trainer at the Franklin Blockade in 1983. She then worked as a community developer before starting her own natural health business, which she has run for the last 25 years. She also holds a Masters in Psychology.

Rafaele is in the process of relocating to Atamai Eco Village in New Zealand, and at her talks will share some real life examples of this pioneering project for sustainable living on a village scale.

Contacts:
Appropriate Technology for Living Assn (ATLA) Brucepaul39@gmail.com
Rafaele Joudry NZ 027 9688788 rafaele@atamaivillage.org

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Long Term Plan consultations

March 25, 2015

Sustainable Wellington Transport

According to the Local Government Act 2002, every local authority is required to have a long term plan in place, covering a minimum of 10 years. The LTP is refreshed every three years, providing a cycle of planning and feedback that allows the authority to schedule and fund any work needing doing in the current year’s annual plan. There is currently a flurry of LTP consultations going on around the region, many of which have transport-related issues contained within.

Some of the councils have yet to start their consultation phase, but keep your eyes open.

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