Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recent posts from Gareth Renowden's Hot Topic blog

Recent news from the Hot Topic blog:


by BRYAN WALKER on MARCH 29, 2011
The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Transform the Global EconomyAustralian Paul Gilding straddles the NGO and corporate worlds. A former international head of Greenpeace, he subsequently moved into consultancy with global corporations and others on the transition to sustainability. Transition can sound a comfortingly gradual process, but that’s far from the case with the transition foreseen in his striking new book The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Transform the Global Economy.
Gilding stands firmly with those who have been warning for half a century that our economies are pressing environmental limits to breaking point. Their warnings have now become realities. We have passed the limits of the planet’s capacity to support our economy. Ecosystem change and breakdown is now under way globally. Gilding takes his stand on the science, whether of climate change or the many other areas where sustainability is crumbling.


by GARETH on MARCH 28, 2011
Twenty years ago I’d have crossed the street to avoid meeting John Selwyn Gummer, then agriculture minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government, chiefly famous for having attempted to feed his young daughter a beefburger at the 1990 Ipswich Boat Show to demonstrate his understanding of the risks of contracting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka mad cow disease) from contaminated meat. It has since killed 166 people in Britain, Cordelia Gummer not among them. I now find myself in the strange position of agreeing rather wholeheartedly with Baron Deben, as he is currently styled, in an article headlined Climate change doubters are endangering our common future published in The Australian (!) last week. And his musings on the politics of climate action provide a useful counterpoint to theastonishing submission on the NZ government’s intention to gazette a “50 by 50″ target for carbon emissions made earlier this month by an Australian organisation calling itself The Carbon Sense Coalition.


by BRYAN WALKER on MARCH 25, 2011
A basket case” said Henry Kissinger of Bangladesh in 1974 after the civil war that liberated it from West Pakistan (the side he backed). Mark Hertsgaard inHot (reviewed here) reports a rather different picture. I thought it worth dwelling longer on what he has to say about Bangladesh than was possible in the review because he shows the Bangladeshis as far from passive even in the face of what look like daunting odds, and because he underlines the case for assistance.


by GARETH on MARCH 24, 2011
I’m off to Wellington next week to take part in the NZ Climate Change Research Institute‘sClimate Futures Forum being held in Te Papa on Thursday and Friday. The forum’s organised around four themes:
  • Climate change and society’s challenge
  • Communication between the science community and society
  • Human behaviour and the capacity to change
  • Towards durable decision-making
There’s a great line-up of speakers and participants: scientists David Karoly, Martin Manning and Dave Frame, science writers Fred Pearce and Erik Conway (Naomi Oreskes’ co-author on Merchants of Doubt) and many others. I’m taking part in a “café” session on the Thursday evening (giving a short 8 minute talk) and then on Friday evening joining Pearce and Conway on stage at the Soundings Theatre in the museum at 6-30pm to discuss climate communication (Sean Plunket in the chair, tickets are free). I’ll be trying to grab a few interviews for future Climate Shows, but most of all I’ll be listening and learning (and perhaps tweeting/blogging a bit, if I have time). Promises to be a fascinating few days, even if I don’t go to see the colossal squid.
Just in from the RSNZ newsletter: Professor Martin Manning, Founding Director, NZ Climate Change Research Institute, invites members of the public to attend two events which are part of the climate change forum on 31 March and 1 April.
  • Café session (free) – What can we do as individuals? – panel hosted by Ian Wedde with Gareth Renowden, Sir Lloyd Geering, Professor Bob Gifford and Dr Bronwyn Hayward. 31 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm, Te Papa.
  • Breakfast session (free) – Responding to big risks – panel hosted by Chris Laidlaw with Martin Kreft, Fred Pearce, Colin James and Professor David Karoly. 1 April, 7.00am – 8.30am, Te Papa.
For more information, and to register for the forum and these events, – email Liz Thomas, or phone 04 463 5507.
[Update: Thursday evening Café Session and Friday business breakfast events are now free, thanks to sponsorship by the British High Commission. You'll still need tickets though, so contact Liz for more info.]
[James Brown, of course]

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