Climate change crusaders press for a Budgetary assault on emissions and pests (but this might stall the Covid recovery)

Radio  NZ   is  reporting  that  climate  change  warriors have  low  expectations  the  budget  will  deliver what is  needed.  Climate lobby groups say that while the need for action to lower emissions and tackle climate change has never been greater, they doubt the government will step up.

It is being pitched as a Covid-19 recovery budget, as the world starts to emerge from 16 months focussed on battling the virus.

 Radio  NZ    quoted Victoria University climate scientist James Renwick as  saying the window for climate action was closing fast. 

“Forget 10 years to sort emissions it’s really only 18 months.  It’s this period last year and this year where governments are making investments, we’ve got to get that right – the pressure is on.”

Greenpeace climate change campaigner Amanda Larsson said the government needed to stump up serious money to help farmers cut emissions.

“We at Greenpeace have called for a $1bn investment, which would include things like building necessary infrastructure, for example: new plant-based food factories and compost facilities.

“But also providing grant funding for farmers to take up regenerative techniques, for example: agroforestry.”

Larsson said the cost of borrowing has never been lower, the government has a huge parliamentary majority and political mandate – now’s the time for action.

Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague said he wanted to see pest control massively ramped up.

“Not only because we have forests that are collapsing and so many species on the verge of extinction, but also because our native forests play such a huge role in storing carbon”.

As  Point  of  Order  sees  it, these  lobby  groups  are  ignoring  what may  be  of  more immediate  concern to  most  NZ  households  than the climate  change outlook,  and  that  is  the  impact of  soaring  energy prices.

John Carnegie,  CEO  of  Energy  Resources Aotearoa  (formerly the  Petroleum Exploration and Production Association)  wrote in  the  NZ  Herald  this  week  it  is  a grim  time for  businesses    and  households  impacted by  soaring energy  prices.

 “Many companies are suffering  and  cutting  production back. If it  continues there will undoubtedly be  job  losses and  higher  electricity  bills. The  problem is caused  by  shortages  of  water  in   the  hydro  lakes that generate  electricity and  of  natural  gas which is used directly  by  industries and  as  a  back-up source  of  electricity”.

Here’s  the   bit  that  should  worry  the  climate change  warriors: 

“ In the  short term  it means  that  large  amounts of coal are  literally  keeping the  lights on  with twice  the  emissions  of  natural  gas”.

According  to  energy  analyst  John Kidd, NZ is on  track to import 2m tonnes of  coal this  year.

The  carbon footprint of  that  entire  supply  is  said to  be  “horrific”.

Carnegie  says  it’s a  double  whammy  for  export  industries that  use  natural   gas  to  create products like  methanol, steel, dairy, meat  and paper.

So  if  Finance  Minister Grant Robertson  intends  his  budget  to  speed  up  the economic recovery from  the effect  of  the Covid pandemic, how  can  he  impose  climate  change measures  that   would  further  damage  those  key  export industries?

In fact  he  may  secretly  be  regretting  the  short-sighted   decision  of  his government   earlier  in  its  life  to  block  further  exploration  of  NZ’s  gas   resources   (though he  could  not foresee  the  problems  that have  limited  the output  from  existing  gasfields). 

The  dilemma now  pinning  him  to  the  wall  is:   to satisfy  the  climate  change  warriors  in  driving  down production  from NZ farms  and  industries    to  cut  carbon  emissions means he is opting for a  sharp  fall  in   living  standards. 

Carnegie  doesn’t  spare  the  rod:

“How  can  our major  industries have the  confidence to innovate and invest  in their  future, when there is such  uncertainty  over  energy  supply?”

Solving  the  climate  problem   by  banning  things may be  easy, but ensuring   an adequate  affordable energy supply  for   businesses  and homes  when  they  need it  is  much  harder.

It  is  ironic,  too,  when  the  first  Labour  government    did  so  much  to expand  NZ’s  hydroelectric  network  in order to  create  higher  living  standards  that  this  Labour  government  could be  instrumental  in  lowering  living standards.         

The  fruits   of  Robertson’s  measures  to  strengthen  the  economic  recovery  may  never   be   harvested  if  wholesale  electricity  prices  go  through the roof.

2 thoughts on “Climate change crusaders press for a Budgetary assault on emissions and pests (but this might stall the Covid recovery)

  1. It’s time to give the “climate warriors” the bum’s rush, they are spouting nonsense. There is no crisis, there will be no apocalypse. In fact we can expect temperatures to cool as we move deeper into the Grand Solar Minimum which the Sun entered last year. We will need even more energy for heating and food production.

    Unfortunately Ardern destroyed our energy security with her “look-at-me” decision to ban gas exploration. Her international brand may be riding high but the consequences for New Zealand are disastrous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Forget 10 years to sort emissions it’s really only 18 months. Just the usual alarmist nonsense we have been hearing for last 30 plus years, none of which matches reality

    Liked by 1 person

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