30 January 2016

New Zealands gross greenhouse gas emissions per capita compared

Update: 7 February 2016. There was a mistake in the chart. The labels for India and Africa were interposed. So I fixed that and uploaded a new version to Wikimedia Commons. I also changed the type of point used to mark the India data into an upside-down triangle.

I have made another chart and uploaded it to Wikimedia Commons. Today's chart is a comparison of gross per capita greenhouse gas emissions 1990 to 2012 for seven entities: New Zealand, United Kingdom, the European Union, China, India, Africa (the whole continent) and also the world average.

Its my own work of course. So it's by Mrfebruary and following Wikimedia's practice, it's released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence, via Wikimedia Commons.

Per capita greenhouse gas emissions

I have used some html mark-up from Wikimedia Commons here and not the Blogger tools.

The original source of the data is the CAIT Climate Data Explorer which is provided by the Washington-based World Resources Institute. I selected the countries/entities and the type of data and downloaded it. I have stashed the data I used on Google Sheets.

Look at China's trend in per capita emissions. In 1990 China had more-or-less the same per capita emissions as India or the average for Africa as a continent. Then from the late 1990s onwards, globalisation of trade and China's rapid economic growth, particularly of its export manufacturing, caused per capita emissions to grow until they are now similar to the emissions in the European Union.

The two trends are of course linked; as China becomes the industrial manufacturer for the rest of the world, the developed OECD countries, including New Zealand, become importers of manufactured goods and exporters of the greenhouse gas emissions. The manufacturing industries decline and the developed economies become more reliant on low-emissions service industries.

Here is the R code for the chart.

As an experiment, I am going to insert a large .png of the graph, 1280 pixels wide. One feature of Wikimedia Commons is that once you have uploaded an image in scalable vector graphic format, you can then get portable network graphic (png) format images in different sizes. Blogger calls this 'medium' size. It doesn't reproduce crisply. The Wikimedia Commons html mark-up looks better. Still, double click on this and it looks crisper in it's glorious 1280 pixel width.

29 January 2016

NZU Price data is also on Google Fusion Tables

I have also uploaded the NZ Emission Unit (NZU) prices to Google Fusion Tables.

Fusion Tables allows you to make embeddable charts and maps from data stored on a table that looks like a cut-down version of a Google sheet.

That's not bad at all, is it?. Especially the ability to hover over the chart and to see the actual prices and dates.

27 January 2016

New Zealand emission unit NZU prices 2010 to 2015

I have made a new graph.

Actually its more accurate to say I have collated or perhaps compiled a data set of New Zealand emission unit (NZU) prices from 2010 to 2015.

Although private sector carbon brokers such as OMF and Carbon Forest Services display some current prices and a few historic prices, there is no openly available public data series of the New Zealand carbon price as represented by trading in the domestic New Zealand Unit.

So I decided to make a monthly data series by digitizing images of graphs via the programme G3Data and via the website Web Plot Digitizer.

I took an image of a chart of New Zealand carbon prices, much like this one below, I drew some vertical lines on it and uploaded it to the Web Plot Digitizer webpage, selected some exact points on the horizontal and vertical axes to orientate the chart and then clicked on the intersection of the data series with the axes. That records the data points in the Web Plot Digitizer app.

The values obtained in this way are best thought of as being similar (but certainly not identical) to a monthly mean. The accuracy is perhaps plus or minus 20 or 50 cents. I know that as I did several 'replications' and they varied from each other by 20 to 50 cents. The data file is available as a Google sheet called "NZU-price-data-2010-2015.csv".


The R script for the chart is also available at Ghost Bin and at the Wikimedia Commons page for the graph.

17 January 2016

An intelligent and observant Martian would be entitled to believe the human race insane.

Australian Robert Manne has written an excellent long-form overview of the problem of climate change policy.

I have shamelessly abbreviated one sentence for the title of this post. The full sentence is.

An intelligent and observant Martian visiting the Earth and learning of our climate problem would be entitled to believe the human race insane

Manne has name-checked pretty much most of the key people we associate with the discourse on climate policy.

Its a really good read. I recommend it.

14 January 2016

Video Kevin Anderson on COP21 the Paris Agreement honesty hope

Marc Hudson is an Australian based in Manchester. He writes for the Manchester Climate Monthly. He has done another interview with Kevin Anderson and uploaded it to You tube. I appear to have been viewer number 479.

Anderson thinks that the Paris Agreement has a very strong headline message in endorsing the 1.5 Celsius warming temperature limit, but then turns out to be 31 pages of legal fluff that supports an implicit endorsement of a climate change techno-fix of bio-energy carbon capture and storage later in the 21st century instead of immediate deep reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.

Nick Breeze video 1.5 Degrees COP21 and the Paris Agreement

Nick Breeze has done another excellent short summary video about COP21 and the Paris Agreement and Government responses. The video includes short excerpts of interviews with Brit MP Caroline Lucas, Saleemul Huq, Kevin Anderson, Jason Box and Michael Bloomberg. I was viewer number 116 on You Tube

The key message I get from this is that irrespective of the obvious high ambition represented by the 1.5 (or 2) Celsius of warming temperature limit in the Paris Agreement, the actions and responses of governments and policy-makers are still rhetoric and business-as-usual. In other words, nowhere near anything like a rational response to the seriousness of the risk.

This is exemplified in the short interview with Shannon Phllips, Minister for the Environment in the Province of Alberta, who squirms and says its unfair to be asked if the Alberta tar sands industry should be shut down so as to stay within a carbon budget consistent with 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

Mind you we in New Zealand are no better than the Canadians. Within days of COP21 winding up, John Key was denying the need to make any changes to New Zealand's inadeqate climate change policies.

13 January 2016

NZ greenhouse gas emissions march steadily onwards and upwards to 2030

A previous post was about an inaugural press release from the new Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett.

From a public relations point of view Bennett's release aimed to sow and spread and cultivate 'talking points' that support the Government's preferred climate policy narrative. Which is of course that:

New Zealand is doing enough on reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. New Zealand complies with its climate target obligations (via 'carbon credits') under the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC. New Zealand has a moderated balanced emissions trading scheme and is doing research on agriculture and helping out in the Pacific and 'punching above our weight' in the international negotiations. All in all New Zealand is doing enough about climate change!

However, New Zealand (irrespective of who was in Government) has historically always sought to use loopholes to comply with emission reduction targets.

So for the talking point "We are meeting our obligations", the reality is "we used creative carbon accounting to obscure the fact that gross and net emissions of greenhouse gases have increased by 21% and 42% since 1990 respectively".

One of the reports referred to by Paula Bennett was the Second Biennial Report to the UNFCCC. This included a spreadsheet of data on projected New Zealand emissions until 2030. So of course I had to create a graph of it.

NZ greenhouse gases by sector

The creative commons license is CC BY-SA 4.0

I used the R programming language and the script is available on the Wikimedia Commons page. Anyone is free to use the graph, it is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence, via Wikimedia Commons

Categorising the emissions by sectors of the economy makes it very clear that pastoral agriculture by far and away contributes more than any other sector. Emissions from agriculture are twice as large as the second largest sector, energy. I added the projected growth of each industry sector by percent since 1990; agriculture, + 22%; energy, + 19%; transport + 60%; industry + 101%; waste, + 4%.

The upward emissions trend is in stark contrast to the Ministry for the Environment's web page on how New Zealand is meeting the 2020 emissions reduction target.

09 January 2016

Dr. Hugh Hunt & Professor Kevin Anderson discussing Climate Change realities at COP21

Yes, we are still talking about climate change and COP21! This interview is with Hugh Hunt and Kevin Anderson and is courtesy of Nick Breeze and You-tube.

Anderson and Hunt discuss carbon budgets, the emissions of the 1% and the feasibility of "Dr Strangelove" technology such as bioenergy carbon capture and storage. There is a transcript at Nick Breeze's blog.