Green MPs support Bill McKibben’s campaign to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, down from the current 389 ppm which is going up every year. Scientists believe this would keep the global temperature rise to less than 2C.
Meanwhile, the NACT government struggles with denial. National’s “target” is a 50% reduction by 2050. And while the Nats have also adopted the IPCC target of 450 ppm, they’ve ignored that the IPCC also says an 80% emissions cut is needed by 2050 to achieve it.
National’s targets are meaningless without a programme for reaching them. After complaining last year that emissions went up during Labour’s reign, they’ve done little besides reverse the few positive steps Labour took during its last term and create confusion in the market by delaying the ETS.
New Zealand is looking increasingly silly overseas, last week “winning” the Fossil of the Day award in Bonn, given by a group of environmental NGOs to countries that block progress at the United Nations climate change negotiations. With the successor agreement to Kyoto to be completed at Copenhagen in December, our Parliament is still mired in a false debate about the science.
Perhaps they’re not bothered by this confusion as their true intentions were signalled in the budget. Roads, roads and more roads will see any target not only missed, but will send Aotearoa in the opposite direction (and “clean” coal is just around the corner?). Nick Smith says everything will be fine, but he seems to be talking to himself these days. Certainly his government is not listening.
If the government had a Green New Deal type of approach, it could put forward solutions that would build resilience into our economy by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, while at the same time allowing us to take a meaningful part in the global discussion on climate change mitigation. Instead, this NACT government is making sure New Zealand won’t be joining the international consensus anytime soon.