Kennedy Graham
Climate Change & NZ: Whatever you do, keep it from the public…

Tuesday, I asked the Climate Change Minister about the future of New Zealand’s climate change policy.

After 20 years since Rio and the Framework Convention, we are approaching the end of the first, and only, five-year commitment period (2008-12) in which New Zealand has a binding obligation to ensure net emissions plus trading of carbon units equates with our 1990 level.

Hanging in the air is the question – what, if anything, is to be the nature of our obligation, and the level of our emissions target, post-Kyoto – that is, from 1 January 2013?  This, of course, is only ten weeks away.  Not too much, it seems, to expect an announcement from the Government about the future.

So, are we going with the EU into a second Kyoto commitment? Or are we going with the Asian-Pacific states, outside of any Kyoto-style commitment – with voluntary pledges?

The Minister was outside New Zealand, so the Associate Minister, Simon Bridges, sought (once again) to advise the House about Government policy on the matter.

While Mr Bridges did not ‘claim to understand the details’, his understanding was that ‘decisions have yet to be made’.

 

Brilliant.  What (I did not ask) is the point of an associate minister?

What about a target over the imminent ‘transition period’ (2013-20) starting very soon?  “The fact of the matter is – we have not made a decision”.

Is the Minister embarrassed over our comparison with other states?  The European Union has a 20% cut unconditional for 2020; Norway has 30% unconditional, Switzerland has 20% unconditional.  New Zealand has (mid-point) 15% conditional.  Is he embarrassed?

No.  We are providing ‘global leadership’ with some research on agriculture.  ‘Real solutions’.

I seek leave to table the UN document that sets out the voluntary pledges to date by the Kyoto Annex I states.  They show New Zealand languishing near the bottom of the pledge rankings, in poor company with Australia, Canada and the US.

A government member (cabinet minister) objects.  The document cannot thus be tabled, for the information of the House.

What, in God’s name, is the justification for vetoing the tabling of a document that sets out the factual state of each country’s greenhouse gas emission pledge?  Pure information.  What else can it be than willful obstruction of the democratic process?

Why do the Standing Orders of our Parliament allow any member (out of 121) to veto the tabling of a document, without the need for an explanation?  The identity of the MP is not entered, so it is anonymous to the historical record.

Fine to explain why the NZ target is as it is.  Fine to rebut the argumentation of the Green Party for a higher NZ pledge.  But to shamelessly oppose the sharing of factual information?

Is this as low as this Government can get?

37 thoughts on “Climate Change & NZ: Whatever you do, keep it from the public…

  1. Kennedy,

    I wish the Green Party was in government so that NZ could be transitioning to a green economy as I type.

    But every election I am disappointed. I am disappointed because the Green party is reluctant to negotiate with the other parties in order to achieve a green economy.

    You’re never going to get a majority of the popular vote any time soon. So you have to negotiate if you’re ever going to make change happen. And time is running out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  2. Kennedy – I sympathize with your frustration. I am also astonished that we the public, the voters, cannot learn the identity of the minister who vetoed the motion to table the data. My theory, that they are committing active treason, is not disproven by any of their actual deeds.

    However. I suspect that we can get some milage out of the capricious incompetence and fear of the truth that this sort of thing demonstrates. We cannot publicize the name? Very well.. we CAN probably go public with the things that you have already said… and I doubt that the instances are uncommon.

    This government has a great problem with allowing the facts to be known about any of its activities.

    So perhaps a short news release, with the document you sought to table and the back-story about how the public has the ability to know these things but the government won’t allow them to be considered.

    ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  3. Was it Gareth Hughes who objected? You have no way to prove that Spam.

    According to the rules of the house we do NOT know who objected and that IN ITSELF is abhorrent to me.

    How are we, as members of the public, or even as members of the Green Party, to hold our representatives accountable for their actions when we are denied knowledge of what they are doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 (+5)

  4. Objecting to a report that embarasses an MP personally (If that’s what really happened), is very different from suppressing information that challenges policy that has huge implications; politically, financially and environmentally.
    Doncha think, SPAM?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 (+4)

  5. From Stuff
    “Last week Green MP and energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said the TRC’s testing of the Ngarere Stream had not tested for fracking chemicals other than hydrocarbons and that he would challenge reports that said fracking was safe when wells had been blowing out and water contaminated.”

    TRC director of environment quality Gary Bedford said Mr Hughes’ claims were overblown and wrong.

    “One of Mr Hughes’ statements is an exaggeration going far beyond the facts as they stand, and the other two of his statements defy the facts altogether,” he said.

    Mr Bedford said the council had tested the Ngaere for 37 chemicals involved in or associated with fracking and had not found any evidence of contamination.”

    But then Gareth has already claimed publicly –
    - he didn’t even know what fracking was until last year.
    - that he’s been campaigning against fracking for years.

    It’s not surprising that he wants to supress council evidence that he is fearmongering with false claims.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4 (+1)

  6. …according to Mr Bedford.
    “One of Mr Hughes’ statements is an exaggeration going far beyond the facts as they stand, and the other two of his statements defy the facts altogether,” he said.
    Can you cite the statement that went ‘far beyond the facts as they stand’, photonz1?
    Can you cite the two statements that ‘defy the facts altogether’?
    Given that you’ve presented Mr Bedford’s claims as fact, photonz1, you’d better back up your insinuations. Links will be a help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3 (+5)

  7. Was it Gareth Hughes who objected? You have no way to prove that Spam.
    I do, actually. Watch at 8:20.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CnoY_HLaf4

    Objecting to a report that embarasses an MP personally (If that’s what really happened), is very different from suppressing information that challenges policy that has huge implications; politically, financially and environmentally.
    Doncha think, SPAM?

    Is that really the standard you want to set? That MPs can make up or spin any old crap, and we’re not allowed to hold them to account because they ‘might be embarrassed’?

    If having a bit of sunlight shone on the deliberate misrepresentations of an MP embarrasses them, then that MP deserves to be embarrassed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  8. Given that you’ve presented Mr Bedford’s claims as fact, photonz1, you’d better back up your insinuations. Links will be a help.
    Pity Gareth blocked that letter being tabled, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 (+2)

  9. SPAM – I’m all for MPs being held to account for what they claim. You seem unable to differentiate differences in scale. No matter.
    The letter wasn’t the only document that contains the information photonz1 cites. he’ll have no trouble linking to the article, if he’s genuine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  10. So there is video of the procedings where the “unknown” MP blocked the tabling of substantive information?

    Seems reasonable to call them on it. National and its cohorts have EVERYTHING to fear from actual information about their policies and the results of their policies, getting out.

    I do not care what Gareth did or didn’t do about a personal attack on him by some council (that is apparently in the pocket of the drilling industry). He sometimes goes too far, but there isn’t any real excuse for fracking in this country for Gas or Oil… and I reckon the attacks on him in THIS thread to be an attempt to sidetrack the argument about climate policy and this government’s criminal failure to implement one.

    In other words Spam… you’re OFF TOPIC, and I think you MEANT to draw this discussion off topic. FYWAFS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 (-1)

  11. Bj’s correct, of course and I was complicit in sidetracking.
    Johnathon Young calls the response from the Taranaki Regional Council to Gareth Hughes as ‘poetry in motion’. Gareth is speaking in the House, right now. I’ll report in if/when he addresses the farcking in Taranaki issue. Right now, it’s the Ross Sea and the bandits in the National Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  12. “Those bandits in cabinet” – it’s becoming a catch-cry.
    “Extremism, like that we hear from Shane Jones” – nice!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  13. Given that the house is broadcast, I see no reason why the objecting MP’s name shouldn’t be recorded. However I also fail to see why relevant documents are being excluded. Is this an anachronism from the days that court recorders had to write out everything? Providing the MP tabling a document offers it in electronic form, why shouldn’t these documents be tabled. Other MPs can simply ignore them anyway.

    Perhaps a members’ bill to change these rules might help.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  14. Greenfly says “Can you cite the statement that went ‘far beyond the facts as they stand’, photonz1?”

    Can you not read greenfly? I already did that in THE SAME STATEMENT YOU QUOTED FROM – Duh!!!!

    The council tested for 37 different fracking chemicals and found no contamination.

    Gareth claimed they had not tested for any fracking chemicals except hydrocarbons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5 (-1)

  15. Photonz1 – you’ve not cited Gareth’s statement, merely a Stuff reference to it,which may or may not be accurate, may or may not be the full statement. If you were a better reader yourself, you’d have noticed that I asked you to cite the statement, not a report referring to it. No matter, I enjoyed your frothy and indignant reply. Now, would you care to try again? If you can provide Gareth’s claim verbatim so that we can test your claim against reality, as well as the two others I requested but you seem to have ignored, then we’d be getting somewhere. Presently, we’re mired in your righteous indignity and that’s no place to tarry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  16. The council tested for 37 different fracking chemicals and found no contamination.

    Gareth claimed they had not tested for any fracking chemicals except hydrocarbons.

    Both could be true if there were 37 separate hydrocarbons tests…

    Neither is relevant to actual climate change, climate change policy or the perilously irresponsible way that National is managing the environment, the society and the economy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  17. Talk about spam thread-jacking!

    I think the climate issue is more important than this distraction tool, but I want to let you know I didn’t oppose leave for that. However I was quite offended by that media report because the council has started playing politics to advance it’s pro-fracking agenda. The councils position just cant make sense, they can’t provide me a list of chemicals used prior to mid-2011 because consents weren’t required so how could they be testing for them at Ngare? I’ve never doubted there was testing there, I have just pointed out its been an isolated test, that didn’t test for all chemicals. The story this was in response to was my digging that found the Council had ‘lost track’ of a number of fracking wells in their report and had to update it three times and this wasn’t an ideal situation.

    …back to the climate eh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7 (-2)

  18. K.O. from Hughes in the Green corner!
    Whumph!Whumph! – the towels of SPAM and photonz1 get thrown in.
    Jan Wright’s disgust at the Banks/Key Government’s smashing of what was left of the ETS, on the Nation at the weekend, was palpable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7 (-2)

  19. “However I was quite offended by that media report because the council has started playing politics to advance it’s pro-fracking agenda.”

    Ummm … a politician objecting to a council “playing politics”? A politician who is advancing an anti-fracking agenda?

    Got hypocrisy much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3 (+5)

  20. Meanwhile back in the house, National’s amendment to further gut the ETS legislation has passed.

    And Ryan (see first comment above) wonders why the Green Party don’t negotiate. Before the Green Party can negotiate, they have to have something that the party in power needs – like the last few seats to tip the balance. While National has ACT and United Future, they don’t need the Green Party and are pretty much ideologically opposed to giving the Green Party anything that the Green Party might want. After the next election hopefully things may be very different and the Green Party will be able to negotiate with Labour who are at least willing to offer the Green Party some concessions and whose ideology is closer to that of the Green Party.

    And outside the house there are more and more signs that the contemplated actions are too little, too late:
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/14/1009121/science-of-global-warming-impacts-guide/?mobile=nc

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  21. BJ,

    You pay to read that stuff?

    When I see a professed scientific study full of “Our analysis suggests”, “our estimate”, “could release”, “potential to”, “may continue” and “The transport from ocean to atmosphere of any methane released—and thus its impact on climate—remains uncertain.”

    You seriously expect anyone to take the “research” with anything but a grain of salt?

    If you buy (both figuratively and actually) that sort of rubbish research, more fool you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 (+5)

  22. Gerrit

    You seriously expect anyone to take the “research” with anything but a grain of salt?

    I presume you’re not aware that scientists always speak in those terms Gerrit?

    The thing you need to remember is that their predictions on the effects of anthropomorphic climate change have in most cases been exceeded by the speed and severity of the changes. Previous data confirms the hypothetical study you’re trying to dismiss is on the right track.

    Research into the future variances of global warming can only be hypothetical (until proven with data), because anthropomorphic climate change has never happened before. It’s unprecedented and therefore most scientists err on the side of caution when publishing their findings.

    There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the study BJ linked to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5 (-3)

  23. Jackal,

    The research papers really need to differentiate between “fact” and “hypothesis”.

    No wonder there is a healthy level of skeptasism out there when hypothesis is presented as fact.

    Do people get paid to write these climate change hypothesis?

    Methane gas is not a problem in the atmosphere if the “hypothesis” in the link below is proven as fact. Naturally occuring or human induced lightning burns of methane gas.

    http://www.nlb.org/index.cfm?cdid=10476&pid=10237

    I did not pay to view the full artiucle BJ refered to and wonder if they covered it with a “hypothesis” how and when the methane will burn off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3 (+1)

  24. http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/methane-fields-in-the-laptev-sea.html

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-09-04/game-over-or-overtime

    Gerrit… I can’t afford to pay for a log of scientific papers. I haven’t got a Uni behind me. It’s just me.

    So when I see that this was published in Nature, which is a respected peer-reviewed journal, I take notice. Particularly in light of the other things which I have ALREADY noticed.

    http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/methane-hydrates-and-contemporary-climate-change-24314790

    Notice that continental shelves are the vulnerable area

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  25. “Nature, which is a respected peer-reviewed journal”

    Wrong, the magazine is not Peer reviewed but often it publishes Papers which have been Peer Reviewed.
    I think we can see why you hold some of your views. Mistaking opinion for fact…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  26. Gerrit

    Burning the methane gives you CO2. Which lasts longer.

    The article you link shows that the artificial light lets you produce more milk from fewer cows (reducing the size of the herd). ???

    There is a similar methane deposit under the Antarctic Ice… which is growing at sea and in places shrinking on land.

    Given the amount of CO2 warming we’ve already bought (the lag remains a factor), the likelihood of additional CH4 release from these natural reservoirs cannot be ignored. Humans are making stupid decisions based on their greed. Like the monkey trap… a jug with a treat inside. The monkey reaches in, but cannot withdraw its hand with the treat. It can easily escape IF it lets go… but it will not, and so is caught.

    We are not so far removed from our cousins apparently, as we might desire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  27. If the research in the article is correct we have 38 years (37.25 actually) left before the methane winter starts and kills all.

    Will any effort do anything but buy a few more years?

    mmmmmm,

    Think I’ll go fishing, see yea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  28. greenfly say “K.O. from Hughes in the Green corner!”

    You got that right – he just restated the claim, just two posts after you were disputing he made it.

    He still hasn’t explained why the the letter was blocked.

    And he still hasn’t explained how can say he didn’t even know what fracking was a year ago, then claim hes been fighting against fracking for many years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4 (0)

  29. And he still maintains you are threadjacking! That Gareth Hughes, he’s a terrier! He’s busted you though, photonz1. Take your ’10′ count like a fighter and stop snivelling like a Peter Dunne wannabe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 (+2)

  30. Gerrit – did you read the linked article when you wrote:

    Methane gas is not a problem in the atmosphere if the “hypothesis” in the link below is proven as fact. Naturally occuring or human induced lightning burns of methane gas.

    http://www.nlb.org/index.cfm?cdid=10476&pid=10237

    The article talks of reducing methane emissions from cows by giving them a longer day through artificial lighting – not lightning! Cows are a very small methane contributor compared to the hydrates so the article is almost irrelevant.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  31. The paper that BJ linked to

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v490/n7421/full/nature11528.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20121025

    presents research results. They are the facts. The abstract includes conclusions and possible consequences drawn from those research results, partly to encourage further studies and partly warning. Whether those conclusions are correct or not, the research results themselves are not affected and represent the true science. Other scientists are free to draw their own conclusions. These conclusions may lead to different areas of investigation, possibly resulting in strengthening or rejection of the various hypotheses and eventually may lead to another piece of established scientific theory.

    There is nothing wrong with scientists including hypotheses and conclusions along with their results providing it is clear what are hypotheses and conclusions, and what are measured results.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  32. Hi Kennedy – I see and understand your frustration. But well done on keeping up the good fight. Any version of justifying delay on the control of human-emissions now, is shifting us deeper into the rising risks of becoming caught in the emergent path[s] of non-human feedback-emissions. So you are absolutely right to keep the pressure on your Minister and his Associate. Delay is already severe and at worst, these feedback emissions can overwhelm the efforts to mitigate human emissions. We need to develop tools to calculate and communicate this. Here’s an incomplete draft of an attempt to do that: – http://www.gci.org.uk/Domain_One.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  33. Ha… I see that sometime in the distant past Roman made the comment that I mistook “Nature” for a “peer reviewed journal” – because peer reviewed articles are published in it and I spoke loosely.. yes.. pick at that nit mate, because you clearly haven’t anything more substantial to offer. Right wing Jerk-Offs. Yet more evidence that Einstein had it right.

    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/9.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

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