Submission on the proposed Zero Carbon Act NZ

This is a copy of the message you have sent via the form.

Name Richard Keller
Phone ….
Town / City Wellington
A Zero Carbon Act is important to me because… It’s getting late in the action period. Yes, it’s been 40 years since we in the West have become aware of where this was heading. Granted, since then facts have sharpened and understandings have become clearer, but there was opportunity to understand and get started on this globally 40 years ago but there has been a lot of obfuscation to prevent this beginning. All the more reason a hard structure and specific undertakings must be put into legislation. Otherwise there are those who would still want to stall. And that desperation may still win out. Or not.
Q1. What process should the Government use to set a new emissions reduction target in legislation? The Government should set a target for 2050 in legislation now. Let’s make that 2040 so as to give less time to find excuses (further obfuscations).
Q2. If the Government sets a 2050 target now, which is the best target for New Zealand? Before we get too excited here, it must be said again that we need more than just TARGETS (arrgh)! We need action.
The most ambitious target: reducing total greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050 (2040). I also support taking a science-based approach to ensure our efforts to reduce emissions are as impactful as possible: we should aim for negative levels of long-lived gases, while reducing short-lived gases to sustainable levels with continual evaluation of what ‘sustainable levels’ are for this context.
Q3. How should New Zealand meet its targets? The Emissions Trading Scheme has been a failure. In fact it has been one of those obfuscations, and thus cannot be resurrected – dead in the water – in the dust bin of history.

By using domestic emissions reductions only (including from new forest planting).

Q4. Should the Zero Carbon Bill allow the 2050 target to be revised if circumstances change? The 2050 (2040) target should not be altered in response to “economic changes” as this undermines its long-term certainty. Given the long term costs of climate change, “economic changes” would be just another desperate obfuscation. However, the ability to revise the 2050 (2040) target in light of natural disasters, major changes in scientific understanding or international agreements should be permitted.
Q5. The Government proposes that three emissions budgets of five years each (i.e. covering the next 15 years) be in place at any given time. Do you agree with this proposal? yes – I agree with 5-year budgets set 10-15 years in advance, so that 3 are in effect at all times. This will allow a more realistic long term understanding, both backward and forward, of progress.
Q6 – Q7. Should the Government be able to alter emissions budgets? No – emissions budgets should not be altered in response to “economic changes” as this undermines their long-term certainty. Given the long term costs of climate change, “economic changes” would be just another desperate obfuscation. However, the ability to revise the 2050 (2040) target in light of natural disasters, major changes in scientific understanding or international agreements should be permitted.
Q8. Do you agree with the proposed considerations that the Government and the Climate Commission will need to take into account when advising on and setting budgets? Note here that the “Climate Commission” is usually proposed as an evaluation and advisory body and will not be charged with the responsibility of action.

I agree that the Government and the Climate Commission should take the following factors into consideration when advising on and setting budgets:
• scientific knowledge regarding climate change
• technology relevant to climate change
• economic circumstances and the likely impact of a decision on the
economy, as well as the competitiveness of particular sectors of the economy
• fiscal circumstances and the likely impact of the decision on taxation, public spending and public borrowing
• social circumstances and the likely impact of a decision on fuel poverty
• energy policy and the likely impact of a decision on energy supplies and
the carbon and energy intensity of the economy.

Q9. Should the Zero Carbon Bill require Governments to set out plans within a certain timeframe to achieve the emissions budgets? Yes – we must learn from the mistakes of the UK’s Climate Change Act and specify a strict time frame for producing a plan.
Q10. What are the most important issues for the Government to consider in setting plans to meet budgets? For example, who do we need to work with, what else needs to be considered? The plans must be made with the understanding that there has been much obfuscation over 40 years and that baggage must be dropped before the scale and depth of plans required can be grasp.
The Government’s policy plans to meet emission budgets should be comprehensive, fair, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and reflect a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Q11. The Government has proposed that the Climate Change Commission advises on and monitors New Zealand’s progress towards its goals. Do you agree with these functions? While a Commission with decision-making powers might be possible, politicians must be the ones communicating with, and held accountable by, the public. Therefore, the Commission should probably not be a decision-making body. However, the Government should be legally required to consider and formally respond to the Commission’s advice, and to provide an explanation if they do not act on it.
Yes – monitoring must be of the highest scientific and technical standard so that political and moral thinking can be correctly informed.
Q12. What role do you think the Climate Change Commission should have in relation to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS)? The NZ ETS has been a failure, and was always intended to be a significant part of the obfuscation. There is too much baggage carried by the NZ ETS and it should be dropped from consideration.
Q13. The Government has proposed that Climate Change Commissioners need to have a range of essential and desirable expertise. Do you agree with the proposed expertise? The Commissioners must have a range of essential and desirable expertise, and in order to communicate meaningfully with the government this must be informed by an in depth understanding of the political history of obfuscation over climate change which the government must and will be considering.

I agree with the following collective expertise:
• climate change policy (including emissions trading)
• resource economics and impacts (including social impacts, labour markets and distribution)
• te Tiriti o Waitangi, te reo me ona tikanga Māori and Māori interests
• climate and environmental science including mātauranga Māori
• experience with addressing adaptation challenges like planning, insurance and local
• risk management
• engineering and/or infrastructure
• community engagement and communications
Also, public health.

Q14. Do you think the Zero Carbon Bill should cover adapting to climate change? Yes. Adaptation strategies and projects will likely be at the top of the political agenda much of the time so it must be considered in the Zero Carbon Bill. It would be possible for the focus on Zero Carbon to be distracted by adaptation issues and keeping them together in the responsibilities of the government should help political forces keep them both in mind.

This may require a separate adaptation sub-committee within the Climate Commission, however.

Q15. The Government has proposed a number of new functions to help us adapt to climate change. Do you agree with the proposed functions? These functions can be monitored and informed in much the same way as the Zero Carbon actions.

I agree with the proposed functions below, but recognise that nuance is required in terms of how local councils are involved:
• a national climate change risk assessment
• a national adaptation plan
• regular review of progress towards implementing the national adaptation plan
• an adaptation reporting power

Q16. Should the Government explore setting up a targeted adaptation reporting power that could see some organisations share information on their exposure to climate change risks? Yes
Further comments • A target for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 should be in the Act. And ability to act on them.
• Setting up a conversation where it is recognized that there has been much delay in getting going, obfuscation if fact, so that inertia can be overcome.
• The emissions from transport, industrial activity, agriculture, and all other sources should be included in the target. Even ‘short-lived’ gasses can have a huge effect on our climate and need to be reduced.
• Emissions budgets should be at least as important as fiscal budgets, and the Government should set plans to achieve them.
• An independent Climate Change Commission of experts should monitor emissions and give advice to keep New Zealand on-track for its emissions reduction goals.

Wellington Saints exciting win over Canterbury Rams in NBL

Hi Sam,

Yes, you missed a good one.  Here’s my summary of the excitement (I hope Saints fans really appreciated what they were seeing!?)

Saints had early lead (5 or 7), Majok Majok overcoming his lack of grace around the hoop by slamming it every time, but Rams chipped away and kept momentum going for a 6 point half time lead.  Too many turnovers as tall Rams had caught on to Saints tendencies.   In the 3rd quarter, first 7 or 8 minutes, Saints outscored Rams, first 13-1, then kept widening at 22-3 for a 13 point lead.  Ili given rest and the Rams tied it by end of quarter (!?!).  The last quarter was tense.  Ili had dominated the Saints offense throughout the game but perhaps tired a bit the second half.  Shaun Bruce took charge with 3’s, perhaps left alone by defence because he hasn’t been consistent at all this year, or earlier in this game either.  But he came through.  Last minute especially tense.  I suppose the key hoop was Ili again, pull-up midrange jumper, under intense pressure by a taller opponent, but he gave it more arch than usual and some how concentrated it into the net, no rim as normal.  Rams scored a two going to the hoop (their lithe ‘bigs’ were showing the high edge of their talent) coming within 2, then fouled Bruce.  He made two FT for a 4 point lead, then Rams scored the same way as before to get within 2 again, and again fouled Bruce.  Seconds left.  Bruce missed both and Rams came down, perhaps looking for the hoop again, but somehow didn’t find it, went for a three (and the win) instead, but off the rim, not close really, and buzzer.

Not the same as being there, but hope this helps.


Submission to GWRC on bus driver contract

To the GWRC – You have an obligation to ensure that bus drivers who are affected by your decision to change contractors do not lose their jobs or have their incomes reduced. Next year you will be standing to represent us and our communities. You need to show good faith now by protecting these drivers and their families.

It’s bad enough that you have shown the Council’s desperation so openly with your aggressively irrational removal of the trolley busses which had another perhaps 15 years of usefulness.  Treating the drivers honestly and respectfully would be chance for you to both make a comeback towards fairness, and to put the irrationality of the trolley decision into the background.  Do you want to continue to look desperate?

Richard Keller
Lyall Bay

plea to the Labour Government to stop dairy conversions (Mackenzie)


Hello Mr Parker and Mr O’Connor,

There is no action more desperate and more neo-liberal in this Post Truth Era in New Zealand than dairy conversions.  They are and have for years been an ideological crusade, a cry of anguish and terror that the exploitative mentality is finished.  We either become nurturers in the deepest sense (not only toward people but also the land) or we will follow this out of date exploitative mentality toward an uncertain new phase, but likely demise, of civilisation.

Richard Keller

The Unsettling of America – presentation to SATRS seminar

The Unsettling of America          by Wendell Berry, 1977 (Sierra Club Press)

Gary Snyder, noted American ‘poet, essayist, environmentalist’, wrote on the back cover of this printing (2015, Counterpoint Press, Berkeley):

“This book is about culture in the deep, ripe sense; a nurturing habitat. With unwavering focus, Wendell Berry shows what we lost of our real human American potential when we lost our commitment to living well, in place, on the land.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mathias Sager reprint – Why people justify social systems that disadvantage them

This analysis doesn’t seem to take into account the Post Truth Era that has become main stream.  But it is probably mostly there, just needs to be expanded.  This is very important and especially difficult for analysts, activists, and academics, especially on the left.  Seeing that the psychology of the individual is not enough to explain the phenomenon of Post Truth should lead us to see that different and perhaps unexpected influences arise from our culture and cultural history.


Why People Justify Social Systems That Disadvantage Them


The paradox of the disadvantaged justifying authoritarian systems

It can seem paradoxical that people often justify the existing social system even when this comes at personal and collective costs [1]. System Justification Theory (SJT) provides a framework to understand what the motives and contexts behind this phenomenon are [2]. SJT posits that an underlying ideology is motivating the justification of social order in a way that contributes to the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups [3]. It is not just passivity that gives way to the dominance of political elites [4]. Psychological and ideological processes related to resistance to change imply that albeit possible, change is often difficult [5]. Change is especially difficult if there is an ideological system in place that pronounces an authoritarian culture of inequality that, according to SJT, tends to reinforce itself as a ‘culture of justification’ [6]. The association of a nation with God further strengthens people’s confidence to justify the system [7].

Exposure to threat causes conservative shift

The political notion of discussion is persuasion [8] and SJT can be used to influence voters’ viewpoints. Studies found that people who were exposed to thoughts related to death became more supportive of conservative perspectives [9]. Exposure to threat, e.g. in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, indicated a possible shift towards increased approval rates for President George W. Bush [10]. Protests, from a socio-psychological perspective, are triggered by perceived injustice and related anger, social identification, and the faith in collective action. However, existential and relational needs for security can undermine these change antecedents [11]. Following this logic, employees, for example, show an enhanced tendency to deny flaws at their workplace especially in times of scarce labor markets [12].

System justification impedes critical consciousness

Although it is a myth that Western Societies are characterized by equality of opportunity, studies found that a majority’s belief in equality helps to justify a meritocratic ideology, i.e., that it is, given we all start with the same possibilities, fair that individual differences are rewarded. The motive to legitimize economic inequality is further blocking critical thinking capacities with severe consequences for the economic and psychological well-being of marginalized persons [13]. System threat defense mechanisms related to SJT, such as victim blaming, stereotyping, and inequality legitimization, can help reduce emotional anguish. However, the victims of a justified crisis often have to pay a high price for it [14]; a price that may be higher in the long-term than the price of protest to achieve positive change.

The role of psychologists in policymaking

It is essential to understand individuals’ view of the salience and scope of systems as they might be system justifiers of varying degrees related to different systems [1]. Also, one must be aware of how ideologies are advocated and reinforced, e.g., through political and societal structures. Psychologists should work in interdisciplinary teams together with policymakers to remove change-averse infrastructure and untrap citizens from the psychological barrier of system justification [15].

Should system justification be used by organizational leaders to evoke desirable behavior?

First, according to different missions of organizations (e.g., to generate profit, or to grow a movement, etc.), desirable behavior might differ too. Second, I think, even if the behavior of the employees is desirable, a responsible leader should be concerned about how this behavior is created. As system justification is a mostly unconscious and automatic psychological response to threat [1], it might not be the best basis to maintain desirable behavior sustainably. It may also be difficult to evaluate whether the lack of awareness is protective of the employees’ well-being or whether there are possible indirect taxes to consider. Rationalizing away inequalities to defense the status quo may seem to support fearful individuals [16]. However, being in control in one area may hinder progress in other areas. For example, studies found that women retaining power in their traditional household role prevented them from claiming more equality at the workplace [17]. Possibly not the best outcome for the women and the organization as workforce diversity may be useful for the innovation capacity of organizations in many cases [18]. As system justification works based on personal fear and lack of self-esteem, it is, for example, causing narcissistic personalities to justify hierarchy in the case they believe to benefit from it personally, i.e., having the chance to rise to the top [19]. I could often observe adverse outcomes related to selfish reasons and hidden agendas. Therefore, in summary, I would foster desirable behavior through increasing awareness and reward informed and transparent efforts towards desired outcomes.


[1] Ido, L. )., & Jost, J. ). (2011). Special issue: System justification theory motivated social cognition in the service of the status quo. Social Cognition, 29(3), 231-237. doi:10.1521/soco.2011.29.3.231

[2] Blasi, G., & Jost, J. T. (2006). System Justification Theory and Research: Implications for Law, Legal Advocacy, and Social Justice. California Law Review, 94(4), 1119-1168.

[3] Jost, John T., a., Mahzarin R. Banaji, a., & Brian A. Nosek, a. (2004). A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated Evidence of Conscious and Unconscious Bolstering of the Status Quo. Political Psychology, (6), 881.

[4] Van der Toorn, J., & Jost, J. (2014). Twenty years of system justification theory: Introduction to the special issue on ?Ideology and system justification processes?. GROUP PROCESSES AND INTERGROUP RELATIONS, (4). 413.

[5] Stanley, M. L., Dougherty, A. M., Yang, B. W., Henne, P., & De Brigard, F. (2017). Reasons Probably Won’t Change Your Mind: The Role of Reasons in Revising Moral Decisions. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: General, doi:10.1037/xge0000368

[6] Mashele, R. (2015). Traditional Leadership and Democratic Governance: Using Leadership Theories to Calibrate Administrative Compatibility. Acta Universitatis Danubius: Administratio, Vol 7, Iss 2, Pp 27-36 (2015), (2), 27.

[7] Shepherd, S., Eibach, R. P., & Kay, A. C. (2017). ‘One Nation Under God’: The System-Justifying Function of Symbolically Aligning God and Government. Political Psychology, 38(5), 703-720. doi:10.1111/pops.12353

[8] Körösényi, A. (2005). Political Representation in Leader Democracy. Government & Opposition, 40(3), 358. doi:10.1111/j.1477-7053.2005.00155.x

[9] Zhu, L. )., Kay, A. )., & Eibach, R. ). (2013). A test of the flexible ideology hypothesis: System justification motives interact with ideological cueing to predict political judgments. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(4), 755-758. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.03.007

[10] Sterling, J., Jost, J. T., & Shrout, P. E. (2016). Mortality Salience, System Justification, and Candidate Evaluations in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election. Plos ONE, 11(3), 1-21. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150556

[11] Jost, J. T., Becker, J., & Osborne, D. (2017). Missing in (Collective) Action: Ideology, System Justification, and the Motivational Antecedents of Two Types of Protest Behavior. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 26(2), 99-108. doi:10.1177/0963721417690633

[12] Proudfoot, D., Kay, A. C., & Mann, H. (2015). Motivated employee blindness: The impact of labor market instability on judgment of organizational inefficiencies. Organizational Behavior And Human Decision Processes, 130108-122. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.06.008

[13] Godfrey, E. B., & Wolf, S. (2015). Developing Critical Consciousness or Justifying the System? A Qualitative Analysis of Attributions for Poverty and Wealth Among Low-Income Racial/Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Women. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22(1), 93-103.

[14] Napier, J. L., Mandisodza, A. N., Andersen, S. M., & Jost, J. T. (2006). System Justification in Responding to the Poor and Displaced in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Analyses Of Social Issues & Public Policy, 6(1), 57-73. doi:10.1111/j.1530-2415.2006.00102.x

[15] Gifford, R. (2011). The Dragons of Inaction: Psychological Barriers That Limit Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. American Psychologist, 66(4), 290-302.

[16] Schlenker, B. R., Chambers, J. R., & Le, B. M. (2012). Conservatives are happier than liberals, but why? Political ideology, personality, and life satisfaction. Journal Of Research In Personality, 46(2), 127-146. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2011.12.009

[17] Williams, M. J., & Chen, S. (2014). When “mom’s the boss”: Control over domestic decision making reduces women’s interest in workplace power. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 17(4), 436-452.

[18] Mamman, A., Kamoche, K., & Bakuwa, R. (2012). Diversity, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior: An organizing framework. Human Resource Management Review, 22(4), 285-302.

[19] Zitek, E. M., & Jordan, A. H. (2016). Narcissism predicts support for hierarchy (at least when narcissists think they can rise to the top). Social Psychological And Personality Science, 7(7), 707-716. doi:10.1177/1948550616649241

Read the rest of this entry »

Bio of my father, Paul Keller; at request of the Prospect, Ohio Alumni Banquet in 2018

Paul Keller Bio

Paul (born May 30, 1908), along with older sister Esther, and brothers Claire and Charles, grew up in a Methodist minister’s family (Wesley Martin Keller and Cara Mae Ramey) which in those days meant being moved around to a different parish every two or three years.   I think Paul was born in Fostoria, and I remember him mentioning Georgetown, Ohio as well but don’t know other stops before Prospect.  It can be hard on a youngster moving around so much, so years later the Methodist Church modified this process. Perhaps for the boys, their frequent moving was a factor in them wanting to stay in Prospect after high school.  Esther moved away, tried New York as a singer, but soon came back and eventually settled into the music program of the Cleveland City Schools. Read the rest of this entry »