Back to the future: Ardern govt refashions a 2007 commitment to make the state service carbon-neutral

The   government’s declaration of a  national  emergency  on climate change has  taken  symbolism  in politics  to new  heights. It’s  an art form perfected by Prime  Minister  Jacinda Ardern and  the  bulk  of  New Zealanders, it seems,  like it.

Look   at  how she  kept  New Zealanders  free  of  the  Covid-19  virus (albeit with a  bit of expert help  from  Dr Ashley  Bloomfield).

A  problem  with  rising  house  prices? Send  a  letter  to  the  Reserve  Bank  governor.

Too  many  children suffering   in  poverty?  Increase   benefits:  problem solved.

So  too  with    climate  change:  First  step,  make  the state  sector  carbon-free.

The  public  cheers. Opposition  politicians who dismiss it are rubbished as  carping critics.

ACT’S  David Seymour  sees  it as  a “declaration of post-rational politics”   and Audrey  Young  in the  NZ Herald  reports   the  “Nats  are  left to fume  at carbon reduction plan”.

Former Parliamentarian Peter  Dunne  has  a  rather  different view.  He  argues  the  clock  has been ticking  on what Ardern defined  three years ago  as this generation’s  “nuclear-free moment” .    In his  weekly  dispatch  Dunne  writes  that  others are starting to  notice this  government is  not the  government  of  transformation  it promised to be  back  in 2017.

“It  has certainly   turned emoting and angsting about  the  various  issues facing  the  country  into a veritable  art form…At  the  same  time it is  becoming  increasingly  adept  at finding others  to blame for its failings.  First  it  was the   previous government,  then it  was its former coalition  partner  and  now, the  housing  crisis is  apparently  the fault  of  the  New  Zealand public!”

Dunne  concludes  it is  now  stand-and-deliver  time  on climate   change.

How,  then,  is Labour  likely to  perform on (for example)  making the  state sector carbon  free?

Certainly   it needs  to  do better  than  in 2007 when – as critics  have  been quick  to  recall – the  then Labour government  made the  bold  commitment:

“The public  service will be  going carbon neutral”.

Thirteen  years  later this is to  be the primary    move  as  the  government determines to deal with the grim effects of a “national  emergency”.

The government    now  “requires” all  its agencies and ministries to  buy electric  vehicles  exclusively and  will mandate  all  public service   buildings to  be up  to  a  “green standard” . This is part   of  the  government’s  goal  to make the  entire  public sector  carbon- neutral by 2025.

So  how  much difference  will  this  make  to  global warming?   According  to  some calculations,   it  could mean lowering  annual emissions  by 0.2% — a  grand  total  of 0.0002%  of  global emissions.

Still, as they say, every little   bit helps.  And, of  course, motor  vehicle   dealers  will be rubbing  their hands   at  the  prospect  of  bidding  to  supply those 16,000 EVs   for  the  public  service  fleet.

Yet,  if  this  policy  is  to be  a  “priority”,    and  turns  out to be   virtually   meaningless, there  is  concern  that  pressure   will  be  brought  to  bear  on the  government   by  climate  activists  to  do  something  more  drastic  and hit  – let’s say – the   agricultural  sector  to    score  a  quick  goal.

2 thoughts on “Back to the future: Ardern govt refashions a 2007 commitment to make the state service carbon-neutral

  1. Nothing will happen, again, and the Labour voting public will not care. Media will say stuff all about it and not hold the PM accountable. St Jacinda can do no wrong, she will not deliver but that will not matter. At least she tried they will say in the leafy suburbs of our major cities and that is good enough for us.

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  2. Ardern is babbling nonsense, yet again. What are these “pre- industrial” temperature levels we must keep within 2 degrees C of? There is no agreed baseline with which to compare modern temperatures. But our economy and our freedoms will be sacrificed regardless because this evil new religion has supplanted rational thought in this benighted country.

    Liked by 1 person

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