The Zero Carbon Bill analysis – 4

New paper kills the Zero Carbon Bill dead

Nuclear power has moved on since Fukushima — now Gen III and IV, small, self-regulating, cannot melt down, put them virtually anywhere. Available in various sizes that last from 3 to 20 years or more. If it fails, truck in another one. Cheaper than coal, more efficient and safer than ever. Come on, Greenies, why resist it? Afraid we might survive your climate crisis?

Essay 4: Climate scare could be gone by 2030

The Hon Barry Brill’s fourth essay (pdf, 302 KB) of these eleven on the Zero Carbon Bill examines the Government’s economic modelling, which tells us increasing New Zealand’s net emissions target from 50% to 100% by 2050 will cost us $200–$300 billion over 30 or more years of ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ It is widely accepted that RCP8.5, the ‘apocalypse scenario’, is highly improbable, maybe impossible. But every model makes assumptions about the future, so what were they in this case?

  • Electric vehicles will reach 65% of the national fleet by 2050.
  • A methane ‘vaccine’ for livestock will be available from 2030.
  • Unspecified innovations will deliver a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050.
  • The ‘rest of the world’ will take strong action on climate.

There’s no reason to think we will get all that help, because the Government gives us no reason for it, but even if we do, we’ll still lose up to $300 billion because of increased energy taxes and other Government interventions. It’s nothing to look forward to.

But the ZC Bill is completely redundant

Minister Shaw never mentions that in fact no NZ emission reductions are required, since we already do more than meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement. We are carbon-negative, as shown in the two-year-old paper by Kay Steinkamp et al. published on 2 January, 2017, Atmospheric CO2 observations and models suggest strong carbon uptake by forests in New Zealand. Sources of funding are acknowledged at the end of the paper and they make interesting reading.

Acknowledgements. The author(s) wish to acknowledge the contribution of New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) to the results of this research. New Zealand’s national compute and analytics services and team are supported by the NeSI and funded jointly by NeSI’s collaborator institutions and through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ( In addition, Kay Steinkamp, Gordon Brailsford, Dan Smale, and Sara E. Mikaloff Fletcher would like to acknowledge NIWA core funding through the Greenhouse Gases, Emissions and Carbon Cycle Science Programme. We thank our colleagues from New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment (MfE), especially the LUCAS team, for very fruitful meetings. None of this work could have been accomplished without the station operation teams at Baring Head and Lauder. We thank Hinrich Schaefer for valuable discussions about this paper. We are grateful for access to radiosonde data from Lauder, and would like to thank Ben Liley for his PBL calculations. We would also like to thank Paul Wennberg and his TCCON team for the generous loan of their Li-7000 that is currently at Lauder. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Why doesn’t the Government, and thus James Shaw, know about this? There are strong links between these scientists and three significant Crown bodies. The ZC Bill was introduced on 8 May this year, so NIWA, the MBIE and the MfE should already have known about the stunning conclusion of this paper for 2 years and 4 months. So why present the paper at all?

Why doesn’t Minister Shaw know about the paper, when his own department, the MfE, contributed to it? Why has the Select Committee reading submissions and conducting hearings on the Zero Carbon Bill not been briefed on the paper’s remarkable conclusion, when it’s central to the very purpose of the Bill? Indeed, it makes the Bill pointless.


In 2014 the G20 countries selected six diverse nuclear systems that offer “significant advances in sustainability, safety and reliability, economics, proliferation resistance and physical protection.” They range from small modular reactors (SMRs) to nation-scale multi-gigawatt facilities, all providing baseload power.

Five years later, there are four SMRs in an advanced stage of construction in Argentina, China and Russia.


Advanced nuclear power plants are soon to produce cheap, inexhaustible and truly renewable electricity virtually emission-free in operation, probably in time replacing all fossil-fuel-powered plants and hugely reducing human emissions. It won’t remove all need for fossil fuels, though it will make electric vehicles far more likely, since it will give countries, including New Zealand, the affordable generation capacity to seriously consider introducing them.

But at the same time, we wait on our Government to finally acknowledge that we currently meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement and the Zero Carbon Bill is not required.

Have you seen the Bill?

Read it online or download it (pdf, 312 KB).

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5 Thoughts on “The Zero Carbon Bill analysis – 4

  1. Brigitte Allain on 24/09/2019 at 3:36 am said:

    Brill needs to read more and stop “praying” to false gods.

  2. Brigitte Allain on 24/09/2019 at 4:30 am said:

    If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them
    Greta Thunberg

    We are in the middle of a climate breakdown, and all they can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth

    This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

    For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

    With today’s emissions levels, our remaining CO2 budget will be gone in less than 8.5 years
    You say you “hear” us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I don’t want to believe that. Because if you fully understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And I refuse to believe that.

    The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C degrees, and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

    Maybe 50% is acceptable to you. But those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of justice and equity. They also rely on my and my children’s generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us – we who have to live with the consequences.

    To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5C global temperature rise – the best odds given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world had 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left to emit back on 1 January 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years.

    There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

    You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

    • This is the speech Greta Thunberg delivered to the UN Climate Action summit in New York on Monday

  3. Richard Treadgold on 24/09/2019 at 10:09 am said:


    Altogether, in two comments, about 4000 words, none of them yours, nothing about your reasoning or your opinion. I’m not reading it beyond a cursory glance, I have better things to do. Kindly stop the personal attacks and express your own thinking or go away. Having a contrary opinion is one thing; refusing to explain why we’re wrong is unacceptable.

  4. Brigitte Allain on 24/09/2019 at 11:05 pm said:

    My words are not important, and neither are yours. Or Brill’s.

    That’s the whole problem: you don’t know you don’t know.

  5. Richard Treadgold on 24/09/2019 at 11:43 pm said:

    Not at all. When expressing your thinking, your words don’t lack importance, but when they hurl abuse, they do.

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