What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in decades, facing depleted petrol reserves, food shortages and a chronic lack of medical supplies.

More than a month of mainly peaceful protests against the government’s handling of the economy turned deadly last week when supporters of the former prime minister stormed an anti-government protest site in the commercial capital Colombo.

For New Zealanders, the troubles being experienced by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people might trigger humanitarian concerns but – at first blush – have little to teach us about good policy.

Kiwis therefore may shrug  off Sri Lanka’s plight as the consequence of incompetence by the governing Rajapaksa brothers, one of whom has resigned as prime minister, the other whose job as president is under threat.

But the policy blunders that precipitated the crisis should be studied by policy wonks in this country  Continue reading “What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic”

Greenpeace gripes at govt’s greenhouse gas agenda but agriculture leaders welcome it (and push genetic technologies)

Despite   pouring  $2.9 billion  of  taxpayer funds  into  the  battle against  climate  change, the Ardern  government won few  plaudits  from  climate  change lobbies – and  copped a  severe  caning   from  Greenpeace for refusing to cut  dairy herds.

As  Radio  NZ  reported,

“Climate activists say the government’s landmark plan to curb emissions is light on detail, full of fluff, and lets the worst polluters off the hook”.

Government  ministers were  nevertheless ebullient   about their  package, believing  they  had  delivered a  master stroke  in  earmarking $569 million  to help low-income families get  cleaner  cars  while winning  over  farmers  with a  new  agricultural emissions centre.

Greenpeace  saw  that  rather  differently.  As  their  spokesperson put it:

“The Emissions Reduction Plan gifts $710 million to the agricultural industry – a quarter of the entire Climate Emergency Response Fund which it has not contributed towards”. Continue reading “Greenpeace gripes at govt’s greenhouse gas agenda but agriculture leaders welcome it (and push genetic technologies)”

Jackson explains co-governance in terms of democracy and equity – but don’t look too hard at what 50:50 means down south

Anyone bothered by the insidious spread of Treaty-based co-governance arrangements will have been enlightened if not reassured by Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson’s defence of the concept when questioned by Jack Tame at the weekend.

Co-governance is shared decision-making and partnership and it is democratic because democracy has changed, he explained.

At least, that’s what Point of Order thinks he was saying.

So how has democracy changed?

Well, under co-governance Maori would have the same representation as non-Maori on the proposed Three Waters bodies that administer the management of water services.  This would be done because Article Three of the Treaty gives Māori an opportunity in terms of an equitable right …

“That’s not a superior right, that’s an equitable right. Why would you not buy into Māori working in terms of the Three Waters.”

According to this reasoning, we should not get too excited about numbers.  Equitability would translate into a proposal to give Ngai Tahu the same clout as around 20 elected councils over the management of South Island water services.    

  • One lot of co-governors would represent Ngai Tahu, a tribal business entity that claims the affiliation of 68,000 people,
  • The other lot would represent 20 or so councils representing around 750,000 people.

Continue reading “Jackson explains co-governance in terms of democracy and equity – but don’t look too hard at what 50:50 means down south”

Isn’t it good, Norwegian soot

Just keep reminding yourself that things need to get worse before they get better.

Norway – a grand profiteer from blood carbon, according to the puritanical wing of the climate church – has come up with a very old and very bad answer to Europe’s energy price crisis.

According to the Times, the government is going to help pay Norwegians’ electricity bills:

“Each household is expected to save hundreds of pounds through state subsidies to cover half of power costs above a price floor over the coming months.”

Continue reading “Isn’t it good, Norwegian soot”

There is an alternative to Trump. It looks like this

Wolfgang Munchau is a favourite European political commentator.  You have to love a guy who ran the argument that Germany and Britain should team up to run the European Union.

Naturally you’d like to know his views on the new German governing coalition, which has just published its 178-page policy agreement.

The most interesting thing about the coalition is that it brings together the enviro-statist Green party with the right-liberal Free Democrats, who, as Munchau says can’t stand the sight of each other”.

Continue reading “There is an alternative to Trump. It looks like this”

Maybe Judith Curry will be more famous than Greta Thunberg …

Now, a substantive contribution to the post-COP26 debate.

Ted Nordhaus is the nephew of Nobel prize winner William Nordhaus (who got his “for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis”).  But it’s fair to say they don’t agree on everything.

You wonder what uncle might think about his surprisingly angry but nonetheless coolly rational attack on ‘big climate’ in the Economist.

Continue reading “Maybe Judith Curry will be more famous than Greta Thunberg …”

It will be a good day when Judith Curry is better known than Greta Thunberg

The world climate revival meeting in Glasgow ended with Alok Sharma (the UK’s minister to COP26, as well as the presiding chief priest) in tears over a last minute word change.  The countries which have built more coal fired capacity, more quickly, than just about anyone else in history (that’s you China and India) would only agree to phase its use “down”, rather than “out”.

Despite the (quite literal) imprecations of hellfire, the only truly substantive outcome of the conference may be the Chinese government’s practical suggestion that the world should aim for a global temperature increase of 2°.  (Bill Gates also chipped in some climate realism, noting that 1.5° was probably unachievable.)

Continue reading “It will be a good day when Judith Curry is better known than Greta Thunberg”

Planes, trains and automobiles – and also by foot, sail, cycle – and metal ball

So COP26 kicked off in Glasgow during the weekend. But it’s hard to get too enthused about an international jamboree if you’ve been involved in organising one. 

The striving by the in-group to pre-cook an outcome which can be pitched as ‘successful’; the breathless blow-by-blow media coverage; the travelling circus of groupies, civil society and protesters.  The Times reports on those making the pilgrimage to Scotland’s famously tough city, including “a Greek actor … on the final leg of a 2,000-mile run from Athens to Glasgow”. Which certainly sounds more attractive than the journey from Germany in a “human-sized hamster ball” – although the latter may have protection and shelter benefits.

Continue reading “Planes, trains and automobiles – and also by foot, sail, cycle – and metal ball”

NZ has yet to announce climate-warming pledge for Glasgow summit but RBNZ is developing guidance for our finance sector

The clock is ticking on global warming, the  Dominion-Post  warned this  week ahead of  the Climate Change Summit in Glasgow. 

The  opening  paragraph  of  the  report  was  ominous: 

“Even after  countries — excluding NZ — unveiled  ambitious new  pledges  to  cut emissions,  it’s still  not  enough to achieve the global of 1.5 degrees  Celsius of climate warming,  a  new  report  found.”

The  article  points  out that NZ  has been  notably  absent   from the burst of  announcements that have been made, but  suggests we may  make our declaration in Glasgow.

It  argues that, as  a  small economy,  NZ’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) will  not sway  the  dial  much.

But Green  co-leader  James Shaw,  who is  representing  NZ  at  the  conference, may  find anything he says is not  greeted  with applause.  NZ, like  Australia,  is  regarded  as  a  laggard  on  climate  change. Continue reading “NZ has yet to announce climate-warming pledge for Glasgow summit but RBNZ is developing guidance for our finance sector”

Economist is always right

The best editorials in The Economist are timeless. Traditionally they germinate in a Monday morning editorial conference run on the lines of an Oxbridge tutorial; Tuesday for a sometimes leisurely write up; Wednesday for editing; last minute tweaks on Thursday; giving a quality product with a life span longer than yesterday’s fish.

The latest on the global energy shock fits the bill.  Structured on the classical editorial tripos of “ … three problems loom[ing] large”.  Magisterial, incisive, combining sound economics with a global sweep of history.

But perhaps ten years too late.

Continue reading “Economist is always right”