Sunday, November 18, 2018

Clive Bibby: Dealing with Climate Change on our own terms

In spite of efforts to discredit my recommendations for dealing with Climate Change in my home region of the East Coast, North Island, l plough on undeterred.

The reason l do so is because l believe the best interests of the residents of this community are not being served by a continuation of the current " head in the sand " attitude towards a threat we all agree is real.

No amount of accusations that my refusal to accept the IPCC theory of who is to blame for this phenomenon should reduce the need to examine the credibility of my proposals.

After all, none of the theories attributing blame have any relevance to our own plans for dealing with the threat if we want to find effective measures that are within the scope of our local resources.

Anything else is based on an idealogical delusion and as such has no place determining our future strategies.

It is worth noting that this scenario is being repeated in regions such as ours right across the country where the leaders are just as irresponsible and the stakes are just as high. Readers will be able to identify with my claim that rural folk are being treated with contempt by a government who do it simply because they can! 

The following is the basis of my conclusions which l offer in a sincere attempt to stimulate discussion that will hopefully influence significant change.


 Sadly, our leaders response to the threat Climate Change poses for this region appears to be that we can't marshal the troops in defence of our sovereignty until we have designed systems that are acceptable to the idealogical persuasion of our political leadership.

Unfortunately most major media outlets have hitched their wagon to that source of reasoning at the expense of publishing alternative views from reputable scholars that tell a different story - a version that highlights the folly of slavishly following the recommendations of the IPCC which would see this country taking a disproportionate responsibility for the sum total of the world's green house gas polluting activities when our actual contribution is less than half of one percent.

b) THE LIKELY EFFECTS of climate change on this region based on what is accepted by all who take the threat seriously irrespective of which message has triggered our concern.

It doesn't take an Einstein to work out that in an environment impacted by even half the force of what is predicted, our region (East Coast, Nth Island) is likely to suffer economic and physical damage more than most.

Our traditional pastoral economy may be affected to the point where it becomes a shadow of its current self leaving our leaders struggling to find other sources of income that will function and contribute as an alternative to the one we can no longer rely on.

Central to any plans for rehabilitation will be the discovery, conservation and distribution of new reliable fresh water supplies.

It is no secret that fresh water will be the new gold standard of the 21st century for the whole world.

Yet most of our leaders both nationally and locally seem to be obsessed with concentrating on programmes that pay little attention to these facts.

When any do, they are monstered by environmental groups who think that any attempt to store fresh water is a threat in itself to the sanctity of their idea of a functioning society in balance with nature.


In Tairawhiti, we need urgent plans for building reservoirs that will supply reliable fresh water for all the current and future requirements of rural and urban communities. We do know that the supplies from existing reservoirs are threatened by the fact that some would be better situated accessing water from less drought and earthquake prone catchments.

In the process of constructing these new more reliable supplies, it will be necessary to take into account the requirements of a restructured economy based primarily on the development of our existing major natural agricultural resource -  the Poverty Bay Flats.   

d) How do THE COUNCIL'S CURRENT PLANS for meeting those anticipated requirements measure up?

Here in Tairawhiti, the Council's earliest plans for building new reservoirs are at least 30 years away. The LTP (long term plan) lists nothing in that category for consideration during the intervening years.

Instead It claims  that a concentration on the Makauri aquifer replenishment scheme is a sufficiently responsible reaction to the threat even though it is yet unproven as a reliable source of fresh unpolluted water in the quantities we would require in a restructured economy. In fact, it may never be able to offer that guarantee and we can't afford to wait in the hope that it might.

I'm sure readers will have had to endure similar "King Canute" type excuses for leadership failures in their own regions.  It is unbelievable!

In the real world, the actions we must take are sticking out like dogs balls.

We must introduce projects that have the potential to sustain us during and beyond these troubling times. I believe we should be making it a priority to gain the assistance of a Central Government who have demonstrated they are sympathetic to this type of future planning - note their support for the building of the Waimea dam in Nelson that has effectively ensured the project's survival. Ironically, the plans for use of water from that reservoir are almost identical to the ones l have suggested for this region.

Go figure!

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.

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