Climate change policy is not stable – something has to break

Pretty much everything has a breaking point.  The only questions are where, when and how.  Might it be coming soon with climate change policy?

This week there was disarray in the Australian Liberal and National party coalition over the costs of climate change policy.  This was one of the issues which helped sink Malcolm Turnbull’s premiership.  It’s significant because political parties have a big incentive to hide the washing of their dirty linen, certainly until they have agreed an electorally marketable compromise.

And in the UK, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have been hinting that they might bring forward to 2032 the proposed date to ban the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. Continue reading “Climate change policy is not stable – something has to break”

Climate change challenge for the Nats is to take scientists’ advice on GE and gazump the Greens

Prince  Charles  has called  for a   new  economic  model  in  order  to  save  the planet.  Speaking  at  the World Economic Forum in  Davos,  he pleaded with world leaders and businesses to revolutionise the interaction between nature and global financial markets,saving the planet from “approaching catastrophe”.

In an unprecedented royal intrusion on government policy,  he argues market-based solutions and tax reform are the best options to halt the damaging impacts of climate change.Outlining 10 ways to transform financial markets and reduce global emissions, Prince Charles said nothing short of a revolution was required.

“I’ve come to realise it is not a lack of capital holding us back but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward we need nothing short of a paradigm shift – one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.”

He called for companies and countries to outline how they will move to net zero emissions – a signal he is not satisfied with the commitments made under the Paris climate accord. The United Kingdom has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 but Australia and other countries have been reluctant to make similar promises. Continue reading “Climate change challenge for the Nats is to take scientists’ advice on GE and gazump the Greens”

Too many tourists and cows – but sustainable management policies will treat them (and culling) differently

Concerns throughout the country about tourism and its adverse impacts – crowded towns, clogged roads, dangerous drivers, filthy freedom campers, congested trails – were examined by Mike White in Noted in August. He asked if we need to limit the number of tourists coming here, a question supported by the statistics he produced.

A hundred years ago, 8000 overseas visitors came here (each year, presumably).

By the early 1960s, that had risen to 100,000; then 500,000 in the 1980s. Through the 1990s, international tourist numbers rocketed by 85% to 1.8 million. There were static years after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, but recently things have boomed again. Encouraged by cheaper jet fuel, more airlines flying here, and the middle classes of China and India beginning to travel, there has been a 40% growth in overseas visitors in the past five years, to 3.9 million a year at present. That’s predicted to expand to 5.1 million by 2025. Nobody is suggesting the growth will stop there.

White acknowledged that tourism is our biggest earner, reaping $39 billion last year ($16 billion from overseas tourists – 20% of our exports – and $23 billion from Kiwis holidaying at home). More than 200,000 people are directly employed in tourism, about 8% of the workforce.

It’s unquestionably a cornerstone of the country’s economy.

But as with dairying, the backbone of the country’s economy, there is a down side. Continue reading “Too many tourists and cows – but sustainable management policies will treat them (and culling) differently”

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

Labour has a secret weapon in Britain’s election – but it’s unlikely to use it

You’re a politician.  Your opponents have done something stupid.  You are going to attack them, right? Perhaps not – if you are planning to do more of the same.

Britain’s Conservative government (with help from its former coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, and the ubiquitous European Union) has managed to create a spectacular disaster with the UK’s energy policy.  But it’s not getting much attention from the Labour opposition in the current election campaign. Continue reading “Labour has a secret weapon in Britain’s election – but it’s unlikely to use it”

Ten years on from ‘Climategate’ things look a bit different

Civil unrest can stop many things but not another UN climate change conference.  But as climate wonks prepare for Madrid, there are unwelcome rumblings from China.

Because autocracies are not that responsive to public opinion, they can sometimes act faster and more transparently than squabbling democrats. Continue reading “Ten years on from ‘Climategate’ things look a bit different”