The proposition that global warming driven by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a risk that needs to be dealt with has achieved a large measure of agreement among policymakers. The proposition that it has to be dealt with right now and at great cost has no such consensus. Continue reading “Climate emergency: future shock or last gasp”
Labour ministers have delivered a sharp slap to their Green colleague Eugenie Sage – the kind of political humiliation which in other democracies would produce a resignation.
Almost certainly, Sage will barely blink while clinging on to her ministerial warrant (and salary).
Earlier this year, as Minister of Land Information, Sage knocked back OceanaGold’s application to buy land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines. That decision could have led to the closure of the mines and the loss of 340 fulltime jobs, not to mention $2bn in exports over nine years.
The prospect of job losses in the region of that magnitude offended core Labour principles.
Since then, OceanaGold has filed new applications to purchase the land.. If the company was encouraged to do so, no-one is saying.
This time Sage was sidelined.
History was being made (we were told by mainstream media) when 170,000 New Zealanders took to the streets to demand decisive action against climate change. It capped a week in which the 16-year-old Swedish girl Greta Thunberg dressed down a summit in New York of world leaders:
“We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth”.
That apocalyptic vision was clearly shared by many young New Zealanders: one Wellington student called on the government immediately to cull the country’s entire dairy herd.
So what has happened in the fortnight since?
So how “transformational” will the zero carbon legislation prove to be?
Many New Zealanders have come to believe global warming poses a real danger to their lives – but will the new legislation remove, or even lessen, the danger?
Under the legislation, agriculture for the first time is brought into the emissions trading scheme. That’s won support from Green lobbyists, but many say it’s too little, too late – “a weak-ass carbon reform”.
On the other side, the criticism is just as pointed. There are no tools to measure on-farm emissions and what the government proposes could shrivel NZ’s growth rate by up to $50bn a year. Continue reading “Leading the world and saving it, too – but let’s brace for a drop in our standard of living (and wellbeing)”
One lobby group spoke up on behalf of low-income people, when the government announced it is proposing to make electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles more affordable.
Another – which speaks for car dealers – expressed a willingness to talk about the government’s plans.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the policy, aimed at enabling families to “choose a vehicle that’s better for the climate and their back pocket”.
Presumably this will be done by calling on taxpayers to pick up a part of the tab.
Genter said the cars, utes and vans we use every day are also the fastest-growing source of harmful climate pollution and account for nearly 70 per cent of our transport emissions. Continue reading “Proposals to put the brakes on climate pollution run into a red light from Taxpayers’ Union”
Climate change warriors who are demanding NZ’s dairy herd be culled immediately to meet targets of lower methane emissions may be confounded by the evidence that leading farmers are already succeeding in lowering gas emissions. And the prospects of huge advances in other aspects of dairying, particularly in AI, robotics and the development of new crops, portend further gains..
And what’s holding up another key development?
It’s the intransigence of the so-called Green lobby against the introduction of genetic technology.
In a Ministry for the Environment briefing to Environment Minister David Parker in June 2018, officials warned NZ could fall behind the rest of the world in genetic engineering technologies. They said the rapid pace of technological change is forcing countries to clarify their positions, and recommended the government update the law. Continue reading “Culling our cows isn’t the only way to reduce emissions – but greenies shy from the GE option”
Winston Peters is too astute a politician to be oblivious to the outcome in what Opposition parties across the Tasman labelled the “climate change election”. Almost certainly, when he spoke in the debate of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill on Tuesday afternoon, he was thinking of how the Australian Federal Labor Party lost the “unloseable” election simply because it campaigned so hard on what voters assessed as too demanding, and too costly, measures to combat global warming.
How else to explain his rambling defence of NZ First’s support for the bill? It was, almost word by word, as if he could feel support for NZ First in the rural regions evaporating.
He started by asking why the House was having the debate. His answer: because the previous National government had signed up to the Paris Agreement.
He went on to say the bill fulfills NZ First’s agreement with Labour to establish a Climate Change Commission, “but one that does not resemble the statutory or arbitrary or final powers of the Reserve Bank”\, Continue reading “Why Winston Peters should be paying heed to the outcome of Australia’s climate change election”