Saturday, 20 January 2018

Wheeler's Corner 03 21st Febuary 2018

Wheeler’s Corner
“Connecting Citizens Who Care“. Every Monday at 4 pm on Access Manawatu 999AM” Join Peter’s blog  

 03 21st February 2018
1. Below in italics is a review of George Monbiot’s latest book
How Did We Get into This Mess? : Politics, Equality, Nature

Leading political and environmental commentator on where we have gone wrong, and what to do about it

“Without countervailing voices, naming and challenging power, political freedom withers and dies. Without countervailing voices, a better world can never materialise. Without countervailing voices, wells will still be dug and bridges will still be built, but only for the few. Food will still be grown, but it will not reach the mouths of the poor. New medicines will be developed, but they will be inaccessible to many of those in need.”

George Monbiot is one of the most vocal, and eloquent, critics of the current consensus. How Did We Get into This Mess?, based on his powerful journalism, assesses the state we are now in: the devastation of the natural world, the crisis of inequality, the corporate takeover of nature, our obsessions with growth and profit and the decline of the political debate over what to do.

While his diagnosis of the problems in front of us is clear-sighted and reasonable, he also develops solutions to challenge the politics of fear. How do we stand up to the powerful when they seem to have all the weapons? What can we do to prepare our children for an uncertain future? Controversial, clear but always rigorously argued, How Did We Get into This Mess? Makes a persuasive case for change in our everyday lives, our politics and economics, the ways we treat each other and the natural world.
[George Monbiot ends here]

So that’s the formal review, as I read the book over the holidays I was simply spell bound by the truths that he revealed. In chapter 24 he wrote of how hypocritical are our leaders who beg us to save power by using economy light bulbs switching off our TV at the outlet point, etc. etc. While at the same time is giving or paying huge and massive discounts, to those searching for new oil and gas supplies.

They even are permitting open cast mining while supporting the introduction of electric powered cars. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s so typical of today’s political leadership, you know preach ‘Thou shall not kill’ while murdering thousands by the use of drones.

After reading just what the 1% is doing to the world so as to continue to profit out of human destruction and environmental degradation…are our politicians all dumb wits and are they treating the public as a bunch of idiots…it would appear that that is the case.

Some of the Neoliberal nutcases who started the bulk of our problems were very popular with the masses.
Just two crazy neoliberals
Margret Thatcher [UK] and second rate Hollywood Actor Ronald Regan [US] both held very strange views on present day society, they both along with others believed that the market should rule…when coupled with their acolytes such as our own Roger Douglas and his motley crew of Richard Prebble etc. Followed by the angry anti-social Ruth Richardson who was followed by the even stranger Don Brash and later the pony tail lover John Key, with these leaders its not hard to understand just how the coal and oil and gas big boys have ripped off the world around them.

The deal done by Canada in exporting [via a pipe line] tar sands to the United States is obvious proof of how the International scene is being manipulated by the fossil industry environmental destruction machine.   
Peter Grove comments on last week’s Wheeler’s Corner
Good sentiments expressed in 02 14th January.I watched Oprah's contribution at the Golden Globes and was full of admiration for her views, even in respect of the fact she spoke from a position of some degree of privilege; Self-earned no less, which makes her a person head and shoulders above most of us.

The comments from the Joseph Rountree Foundation were a sobering reflection of the years of Tory Rule in UK.

We can really consider it to be a reflection of the nine years of Tory rule in this country: One which has pandered to the rich, and the Road Transport Lobby among others, to the detriment of New Zealanders of every persuasion.
Much capital has been made of the new Kapiti Expressway which cost $630million only to reveal faults in the seal, once in use. How can it be after all the fanfare, that travel times Kapiti - Wellington are now longer than they were on the original two lane roadway?

Returning to the Joseph Rountree Foundation findings; Since 1979 Tories have held power for a total of 24 years to Labour's 10 years. Therein, obviously, is the reason for the appalling destitution in the UK.

It augurs well for Jeremy Corbyn and his avowed policy 'For the many, not the few.'
If you can find a copy of the video 'I Daniel Blake' please watch it…It gives a realistic portrayal of the travails ordinary Brits face when trying to access government Social Services. It seems our own Social Welfare dept. has copied many of their Pommy counterpart's tricks. The video could be available in the library. Peter G.
Fred Hirst

Press Release:
Newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that climate change is New Zealand’s 'nuclear-free moment' and indicated her Government would show strong and responsible leadership against this threat by putting “passion into action, by taking bold and decisive measures to protect our future and our children’s future”.

Yet on 20 Dec 2017, the same day that France declared it had ceased issuing new oil and gas permits, the NZ Government issued a new 12-year oil and gas exploration permit  off the Southern Taranaki Coast -  the same habitat as the critically endangered Maui dolphin. 

The early opportunity to show leadership  by cancelling the petroleum Block Offer process and cease fossil fuel subsidies and exploration which are driving climate change, has been lost. The fossil fuel industry and its workers require strong incentives to transition to renewable, sustainable, clean energy initiatives and development. Global action needs to be taken urgently for the sake of our planetary health due to the inevitable and severe climate change consequences of fossil fuel use, now occurring with increasing frequency - extreme temperatures; flooding and coastal erosion; drought ; cyclones and bush fires. Those most at risk include our Pacific Island neighbours and other indigenous peoples; those living with socio-economic deprivation; women, children and elderly people; those with chronic health conditions; those living in countries with weak health systems and those communities dependent on agriculture for  food and economic viability.

In 2012, the International Energy Agency reported ‘Only a third of the carbon contained in proven reserves of fossil fuels can be released into the atmosphere by 2050 if the world is to keep below the 2°C target', agreed in December 2009 at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). This warning was repeated in a scientific paper published in Nature (January 2015; McGlade C and Ekins P; 517:187-190): 'To have at least a 50% chance of keeping below the agreed 2°C target, it is estimated that a third of known global oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050'. ie. fossil fuels needs to stay in the ground.

In response to the issuing of the Taranaki exploration permit on 20 Dec 2017, NZ leaders from Greenpeace, Forest & Bird , 350 Aotearoa and WWF called on the Government, in an open letter, 'to put an immediate end to new exploration for oil, gas and coal in New Zealand. This would powerfully complement the Government’s commitment to passing the Zero Carbon Act, and show its commitment to achieving its 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. Your government has an unprecedented opportunity to create a stable, resilient and low-carbon future for all New Zealand’s people – including those whose livelihoods currently depend on fossil fuel extraction. A Just Transition means supporting the creation of jobs in sustainable industries at the same time as winding down existing fossil fuel industries, rather than expanding them'.
Fred Hirst on behalf of 'It's Our Future Manawatu'
Contact: 06-3570064

Peter J Wheeler

1 comment:

Wheeler's Corner NZ said...


Latest WC just to hand.

Excellent contribution by Fred Hirst. It continues to surprise me the numbers of people who remain in Climate Change denial.

Surely for most of us the changes are being writ large on most walls. I just don't understand the views of the various troglodytes who continue to be immune to the changes we are seeing every day. 2016 it seems was the warmest year on record for 3 million years.

There is a very interesting dissertation on the subject available at;

It would be interesting to know just how much this country paid in 2016 to transport untold numbers of parliamentary seat warmers to the Climate Change Conference held in Paris that year.

It's my bet every one of our delegation stood there at the finish, hands on hearts solemnly declaring their adherence to the conclusions reached by the conference, and their intentions to put those conclusions into practice in New Zealand, upon their return.

Some time ago I replied to a correspondent in our local community newspaper who had complained about the Marine Drive from Eastbourne to Gracefield. I pointed out I had been resident in Days Bay from 1933 through to 1960 and stated in the 80 years from 1933 to 2013 that road had remained unchanged. My research jad shown in 1933 there were a total of 3635 motorcar registrations. By 2013 those figures had increased to 2,482,513, a percentage increase of nearly 683,000%. During those 80 years the Marine Drive has remained the same two lane road it was in 1933!

Latest motor registration figures show the total number of vehicles using our roads are now 4 million an increase of more than 161% on the 2013 figures. What does that say about the confusion and delays encountered by anyone making a journey by car anywhere in New Zealand?

Harking back to the Paris Climate Conference. What results have we seen in this country from the resolutions the seat warmers made at the conclusion of the conference? Has there been a single carless day imposed? They were good enough for the Petrol scare arising from the Arab states boycott of 1973. Aren't our present circumstances of even greater urgency?

The Greater Wellington Regional Council has been allowed to dismantle its Electric Trolley Bus service with a proposal to replace those vehicles with hybrids(?) How much is the cost to dismantle the existing reticulation? How much are the Hybrids going to cost? Up to November last year the trolleys were providing good service. That being the case why wasn't consideration given to upgrading the fleet with new up to date trolleys using the existing reticulation? There were reports the substations providing power for the trolleys were those which served Wellington's trams which were taken out of service in 1964 were coming up to the end of their useful lives. So? What was wrong with replacing the substations with new? Another instance of the blind leading the blind!

About the same time one of the brains trust in NZR was advocating dismantling the NZR main trunk electrification 'because the existing locos were getting older and beginning to become unreliable' The serious part of the proposal was that the existing electrical installation would be dismantled and the present freight haulage would be handled by Diesel locomotives(?)

Another example of a clean swap of NO emissions, for carbon emissions. It seems NZR is having second thoughts on the proposal.

What are the Ministers for the Environment, doing to justify their grossly inflated salaries? Worse of course is further denial of the resolutions reached at Paris in 2016.

This country is long overdue for effective political action in lieu of the usual wishy washy lip service to which we have all become accustomed .

Peter Grove.