Climate commission’s challenge is to produce a world-leading plan (dairying included) for a low-emissions economy

Global efforts to tackle climate change have stalled in Madrid.  The  197  parties to the UN  talks  agreed to the need  for  new  emission  cuts, but they stopped  short  of concrete  commitments  and left  the outstanding issues of  the  Paris  Agreement undecided.

Never mind,  NZ  is  showing  the world  what  “meaningful, ambitious and lasting climate action looks like”.

That’s  how  Climate  Change Minister  James Shaw  sees  it.

As the head of the NZ delegation at the global climate talks, Shaw shared  with delegates  to   COP25 the progress the  Ardern government is making

“ … to build a cleaner, safer planet for future generations”.

Critics   may  say that  whatever  NZ  does  to  cut  its   emissions   (which represent  just  0.17%  of  the total  global  emissions)    it is   hardly likely to  have much impact  on  global  warming  while  China and  the US  (contributing  together  40%  of  global  emissions)  do  nothing  to  curb  their emissions.

Shaw insists the government will continue to show global leadership on

“… what needs to be done to leave a safer planet for future generations”.

The Shaw rhetoric  plays  well  with   those in   the Green  camp—but  do the rest of  New Zealanders share  this  ambition to  be  out in front  of  the rest of the world?

Shaw claims  a world-first partnership with farmers to reduce emissions.

But  dairy farmers   may  be  questioning  why  they  have to  be in the forefront in cutting  methane   emissions  while   their  international  competitors face  no penalty.

The failure  of   the  Madrid  conference  to   resolve   the issue of  carbon  markets  and  carbon  trading   underlines that   global  emissions   will keep rising —  particularly  in countries like   China,   still  building  power  stations  fuelled  by  coal.  .

Not  hard   to  guess  which  country  was  top of the  list when  Shaw confessed  he  was  “frustrated” there are some countries slowing overall global progress.

It is especially frustrating,  he  says,   at a time when everything happening around the world points to an urgent need to move further and faster.

We are not going to get there unless countries are working more closely together. Carbon markets must have fair rules and ensure genuine emissions reductions”

On his   return to  NZ  Shaw  continued  his  crusade to put  this country out in  front on   climate change.

Announcing the members of  the  Climate Change Commission, he  said expert, trusted and independent advice will be essential to ensuring NZ plays its part solving the challenge of climate change.

“Some issues are too big for politics, and the biggest of all is the climate crisis we face. Our decision to create the Climate Change Commission was about protecting climate policy from political mood swings, meaning every future government can stay focused on the job at hand: to help solve climate change and make our communities are cleaner and healthier,”

The creation of an independent, non-political body to monitor and advise on how governments can meet NZ’s climate change targets was one of the most important parts of the Zero Carbon Act.

“We provided a bold legislative framework for what we need to do build a climate-friendly future for New Zealand; it is the Commission who will now advise us on how best to do that,”  Shaw said.

The six commissioners are experts in the fields of climate science, adaptation, agriculture, economics, and the Māori-Crown relationship.

“Whilst it is an advisory body, I fully expect that the impartial and scientifically rigorous analysis it will provide will help keep future governments’ climate policy in check,”.

In addition to Dr Rod Carr, who was appointed as the chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission in October,  Lisa Tumahai will continue in her role as deputy chairperson.

The  newly  named commissioners are:

  • Harry Clark, a NZ expert on agricultural greenhouse gas research
  • Judith Lawrence, a thought leader with international expertise in climate change adaptation
  • Catherine Leining, a leading NZ economist on climate policy and emissions pricing systems
  • Professor James Renwick, a leading climate scientist and a recipient of the PM’s Science Prize for Communication
  • Professor Nicola Shadbolt, a farmer, company director and academic, with expertise in land use and land use change.

One of the  key roles of the  commission  will be to  prepare  a  carbon  “budget”  by 2021, providing a   track  to  reach the target of  net  zero  carbon  emissions   by  2050.

In effect  the commission  will be  devising a  plan   to  reorganise   the economy    so it  becomes  a   low-emissions  economy.

As   Dr  Carr   puts   it:

We  are  all  going to  have to change”.

And since   this   involves    significant  reductions in    methane  emissions,  it  means   changes  to  the  dairy industry regime, particularly  in   regard    to the kind of pastures  ruminant animals  feed on.

Clearly  NZers  will be paying a  price   to   achieve  a  climate-friendly    future for   NZ.

The  question is   whether  they  really   want to be  out in front of the rest of the world.

After  all,  when  NZ   declared  itself  to  be   nuclear- free   ( in  what was a world first),  did  any  other country  follow  our leadership?









3 thoughts on “Climate commission’s challenge is to produce a world-leading plan (dairying included) for a low-emissions economy

  1. It is hard to see Dr Renwick as politically neutral in the climate argument – no matter which way the story is spun. He is a hard out climate activist. The Commissioners would do well to get some alternative and contested advice if they don’t want to look like they are on a fool’s errand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What is a “thought leader”? As for Renwick, I have no confidence in his advice. This is shaping up to be a costly and thoroughly pointless own goal for New Zealand.


    1. Yes a thoroughly pointless goal which will achieve absolutely nothing in terms of the climate, will impose enormous costs upon the economy but worst of all result in a massive expansion in the powers of the state

      Liked by 1 person

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