Australian initiative a challenge to NZ on climate change

Australia’s plan to link its climate change policy with the NZ emissions trading scheme is a timely challenge to the Government to get up to speed.

Last week Australian Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, gave a speech about his country’s plans to tackle climate change which throw into sharp relief the National Government’s backward direction.

After years of obstructionist and self-serving action on climate change, Australia has vastly upgraded its act, joining the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and introducing a carbon tax this year of A$23 per tonne, with a view to transforming that into a nation-wide emission trading scheme in 2015.

By contrast, New Zealand has gone the other way, making ambitious plans and announcements about climate change in the early ‘90s, then steadily backtracking since then, to the point where the Key Government has rendered our ETS completely supine and ineffective – a ‘farce’, to quote the Parliamentary  for the Environment.

The Australian approach demonstrates the economic sense of a carbon tax to begin with. The cost of emissions in Australia stands at NZ$29.  On this side of the Tasman, the cost of carbon stands at around NZ$2.85 for NZUs, and NZ$1.20 for ERUs.  Throw in the farcical one-for-two obligation, and that makes it less than a dollar to emit carbon.

This comes at a time when the latest scientific evidence of polar ice melt makes it clear that dangerous climate change is closer than we thought.

Next week, the Government will push further amendments to the ETS through Parliament, seeking to complete the process of nullifying its effectiveness.  Now is the time for New Zealanders to demand that the Government do its fair share in combatting climate change.

Not leading the world, not even a fast follower – just getting up to speed.

27 thoughts on “Australian initiative a challenge to NZ on climate change

  1. “dangerous climate change is closer than we thought.”
    Oh what utter scaremongering nonsense.
    If you believe this then I suspect you are captive to the group think prevalent amongst many warmists. You should really catch up on the latest science and research papers.
    Positive feedback from water vapour is not happening.There is no increase in the intial greenhouse gas reaction between CO2 and Water vapour which is causing at most .7 C per century.
    – sits back and waits for all the cut and paste warriors from SKS to appear…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12 (-8)

  2. Roman,
    “You should really catch up on the latest science and research papers.”
    Perhaps a link to some of these.. you could even cut and paste it if you like.
    At the least, could you provide some reference for your claims?

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

  3. Roman is claiming to know better than 97% of the people who actually have advanced degrees and know and study this stuff.

    His ignorance is willful, not a problem that can be corrected by correcting the misinformation he subjects himself to.

    He SHOULD provide links so that his misinformation can be debunked properly, for other folks who happen on this site. He however, is probably not going to be convinced by any actual science.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 (+3)

  4. OK… I think I know where the Positive Feedback from Water Vapor is not happening claim comes from. There is only one scientist on the planet who claims that, and that’d be Dr Spencer.

    One has to wonder however, how a year old paper by a scientist who does not convince anyone with his science… is recent.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/04/review-of-spencers-great-global-warming-blunder/

    http://rabett.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/grl-doi1010292011gl049236-andy-dessler.html

    http://sciencepoliticsclimatechange.blogspot.co.nz/

    Basically Roman is probably referring to the Spencer and Lindzen notion of low sensitivity. There are any number of serious difficulties with this notion. The most important one to my mind is the recent paleo record. The last million years or so in which we have quite decent understanding of the solar input, the CO2 and the water vapor changes… and which give us regular glaciations based on really quite small changes in forcing…

    …which implies significant amplification.

    Clouds don’t cause ENSO, ENSO causes clouds.

    Lindzen of course, was associated with CEI back when it was lying for the Tobacco industry and hasn’t really changed his spots. Spencer just manages to disassociate his science from his books and blog so thoroughly that he can maintain a scientific reputation AND say whatever it pleases him to say.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/roy-spencer-man-of-mystery/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/wheres-the-skepticism/

    In other words, not only does every other climate scientist disagree with the low-sensitivity nonsense of this pair, so does Mother Nature.

    …and so far I’ve only discussed the surface temperature measures. The ocean heat content is where the main show is, and that’s not exactly ambiguous either…

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

    So in a few more years no more summer ice in the Arctic. You’d think that deniers would get the hint.

    Some may.

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  5. I find it amazing that there are still people that believe in the global warming nonsense. I see no good reason why we should pay the “carbon TAX”. Love the 97%, somebody told me they where scientist. Can anyone tell me why it always necessary to have scientific proof?, is that the only proof that exist in the world? I think not!

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

  6. Roman. I’m pretty up to date with the science – I get Nature and Science each week and have done since the mid-1960s. I’ve not come across what you reckon is correct- water, CO2 and several other IR absorbing gases are involved. Could you give us references so we can check for ourselves or is it just denialist groupthink propaganda bs like we get from Joe Fone and his mates?

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

  7. Can anyone tell me why it always necessary to have scientific proof?, is that the only proof that exist in the world?

    Gravity is “only a theory”. Evolution is “only a theory”. Relativity is “only a theory”. The “germ” theory of disease is “only a theory”.

    None disproven I might add.

    There ain’t no such thing as scientific “proof”, just scientific disproof, which we have seen none of with respect to Global Warming Theory either, despite 20 years of intense scrutiny.

    Did you visit to spout nonsense or do you actually have a point? You can’t realistically expect to persuade anyone of anything unless you have something more detailed. So far you’ve probably done more damage to whatever position you imagine you hold, than anything else.

    No indeed, science isn’t the only sort of evidence in the world… it is however, the evidence that gives us the ability to put men on the moon, iPads in your hands and prevents women from dying in childbirth. It is the basis of pretty much every advantage we possess.

    We’d best start paying that tax, letting the market have the signal it needs that the cost of BAU (that’s “Business As Usual”) is a lot higher than some folks think it is. We can arrange to return the money in the form of other taxes abated, or a payout to everyone, but the market signal needs to be there, to change our behaviour where it counts.

    I did wish in passing, for someone to argue with. I need be more careful about such wishes. The quality of this lot seems to be deficient.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 (+7)

  8. BJ,

    We’d best start paying that tax,

    If you genuine feel that paying a carbon tax will save the world than I’m sure the IRD would welcome your voluntary contribution (you could off course pay your tax to me and I will ride a bicycle instead of driving my car to negate CO2 emissions ;-) )

    Just like your voluntary single carbon contribution is not going to make a dint in the 4.4 million New Zealanders carbon emission, neither will the carbon tax 4.4 million kiwis will pay, make a dint in the emissions of 9 billion people.

    But with only 37.2 years to go till the methane kills us all, will carbon taxes make any difference?

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

  9. Gerrit

    You seem to be purposely missing the points.

    First it is of course for the unpriced externality that the market currently ignores to be priced in. That is important even if it is JUST us, as it pushes each and every economy that applies it, in the direction of sustainable energy resources, regardless of what others do.

    Second of course, is the “we” I used was used to encompass the entirety of the planet. You choose to limit it but even so you are wrong… for it is necessary for all, and we who have the EASIEST task, need to lead, not be “failed followers” in others footsteps. Someone HAS to start somewhere, and we are here.

    Third is that the tax is applied and refunded, so that the net tax on the population is negligible but the emitter of CO2 sees a price put on that behaviour and a reason to change it.

    If you do not understand your responsibilities as a member of the human species, as many in National fail to understand theirs, you certainly are not alone… but you also are not a Green.

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

  10. but you also are not a Green.

    But I am a voter and you do not know which way I vote.

    as many in National fail to understand

    This pidgeon holing seems to be a Green party members addiction.

    Compartmentalised thinking. Everything neatly slotted into their labelled partition to make sense of a muddled world.

    Cute but totally unproductive.

    Problem that the doomsday prophets are facing is that people are zoning out. People simply don’t believe that the doomsday prophets are right (latest is the methane hockey stick graph and that we will be decimated by 2050 – 37.2 years to go).

    While I lean more in this direction (healthy skepticism)

    http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2012/08/hockeystick-hansen-strikes-again.html

    I wont worry about survival of the species because out of the 9 billion, some will survive. Might not be us or our families.

    Wonder if “Doomsday Preppers” is a must watch for the survivalist?

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  11. The point was that one of the things that makes a person adhere to “Green” principles and particularly that of sustainability, is a deep understanding of our responsibilities to our fellow humans. That’s something that cannot be lacking for a Green… nor I believe is it possible to have and not be a “green” no matter one’s party affiliation. It is however, something I have never seen in any National supporter.

    out of the 9 billion, some will survive

    The abandoned potential entailed in that loss of civilization, loss of all we have learned as a species, that is embraced in that phrase may well be an example of the different level of understanding of our responsibilities to our species. Or you may just be playing with this, providing counterarguments as I do not perceive you as being so irresponsible.

    Now we get around to Rebane, who is seriously confused about nearly everything. The person who gave us the “hockeystick” is Mann, who is the same guy who is suing the National Review (a right wing rag)

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/10/24/mike-manns-lawsuit-whats-at-issue/

    … but that is not HANSEN… and Rebane appears not to even know the difference.

    ” BTW, the cold weather events during the same interval are just that, ‘weather’ and not climate change.”

    Nope… that isn’t what Hansen actually said and Rebane wouldn’t need a PhD if he bothered reading something that Hansen actually wrote. The statistics are VERY carefully done, and explained, and Rebane clearly did nothing to inform himself of the actual content.

    I could go on at length, there seems to be a never ending stream of error, but if you are reading this guy, I have to tell you that he isn’t merely wrong, he doesn’t even know what he’s wrong about :-)

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  12. Had a wee chuckle.

    It is however, something I have never seen in any National supporter.

    Still pidgeon holing and generalising, correctly you should say “I have never seen in any National party supporter I have met

    The abandoned potential entailed in that loss of civilization, loss of all we have learned as a species, that is embraced in that phrase may well be an example of the different level of understanding of our responsibilities to our species.

    Depends if you think the human race currently is “civilised” or not. A clean slate is an alternative to what “civilised” behaviour shown by the human species to date is.

    Mann suing the National Review is going to be interesting as he will have to defend ALL his record sources and opinions.

    The cross examination should be interesting. But is it favoured toward Mann as the Judge is Judge Natalia Combs Greene.

    A greenie for a judge!! :-)

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  13. Gerrit says he’s a “healthy sceptic” implying he’ll go by the evidence. Is he in fact Gerrit van der Lingen, one of the founding members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php which states on it’s website “The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition was formed in April 2006 by a group of New Zealanders, mostly resident here but some overseas, who are concerned at the misleading information being disseminated about climate change and so-called anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.” Hardly open minded or indeed open on Gerrit’s part if he is keeping quiet about his role as one of the CSF founders. I’m a Green Party member and not ashamed to admit it nor will I mislead you by not being open about where I’m coming from.

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

  14. The crazy thing about the Australian Governments policies are that they cost an enormous amount but don’t reduce the carbon emissions at all. I refer you to a piece in The Australian newspaper a couple of months ago
    http://theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/hopes-of-slashing-greenhouse-emissions-just-blowing-in-the-wind/story-fn59niix-1226462745494
    They spend hundreds of millions subsidising wind turbines and then have to keep running the coal fired boilers all the time because wind power is not reliable.

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  15. No Gerrit – BJ’s phrasing is correct. It is quite possible for BJ to have seen evidence of a deep understanding of our responsibilities to our fellow humans in a National supporter without having met that supporter, such as on television. It is equally possible for BJ to have met a National supporter who has a deep understanding of our responsibilities but who hasn’t displayed this to BJ. BJ’s statement says what he has seen, and doesn’t pidgeon-hole all National supporters.

    The only caveat that BJ might have missed is that he may have seen evidence of a deep understanding of our responsibilities from a person that he did not know was actually a National supporter.

    Trevor.

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  16. There is a thing I am, even before I am a Green Gerrit. I am a human. I have a responsibility to MY species and a responsibility to the universe at large to do my very best to see that it survives and thrives… forever.

    That is the required foundation. One cannot hate one’s fellow humans to the misanthropic extent of wishing Mother Nature to wipe us out and start over, without being a traitor to the human species and derelict on your duty to nature AS a human.

    What duty is that? The duty to compete, to do your best to ensure survival and why is it necessary to make that a conscious decision? Because we have the ability to decide not to live. WE are the species that commits suicide. That we do that and CAN do that, is part of our sentience. It is power and with it comes the responsibility.

    Understanding that is not “Green”. Greens manage the level of making sure we survive… but I don’t think most use my philosophy. Might if I argued it out more, but it isn’t needful for most of us.

    Now… we come to the failure entailed in “some of us will survive”, which is the failure to understand that we cannot simply “go qentle into that good night”. It remains a failure, and a very important one… and instead you are picking nits about what I perceive in National supporters.

    Given that I was careful enough about what I have seen, I think I do need to extend the notion, because there is a stronger statement available.

    The deep understanding I speak of, of the need for sustainability in economy and environment and society. Is pretty much an integral part of any self-described Green.

    …and it is incompatible with the policies of the National Party. Deeply incompatible. Like matter and antimatter. So, I fear I AM going to “pigeonhole” National supporters… and not just the ones I have seen… as the exception is not “who I have met” the exception is “who are sane”. The level of understanding I speak of and the commitment to sustainability which results, would create such cognitive dissonance as to tear a mind apart if it were held alongside the National Party dedication to drilling, digging, burning and dumping. I cannot conceive of a person able to hold two such diametrically opposed positions in their head and remain sane.

    A person cannot believe in sustainability like a Green and promote policies of unsustainability in the manner of National. There are therefore NO National supporters who understand and support sustainability the way Greens do… it isn’t a matter of my experience or encounters, it is a matter of logical impossibility.

    That ought to put the cat among the pigeons :-)

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  17. BJ,

    I often give my MP vote to the National party, and I think that qualifies me as a National Party supporter.

    I give my party vote to the Greens. I do so in the hope that they will enter a coalition government and negotiate some far-reaching climate change legislation. Every election, of course, I am disappointed.

    BTW, you’re far too generous to Texas Pete. You’re ability to treat even the nuttiest of propositions (“is that the only proof that exist in the world?”) with dignity should be applauded. The only other proof we need comes from the flying spaghetti monster, taught to us through his prophets blackbeard, long-john silver and John Key (Ok, I threw that last one in for you…)

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  18. I am a human.

    So is everyone else, Your humanity is the same as 9 billion others.

    I have a responsibility to MY species and a responsibility to the universe at large to do my very best to see that it survives and thrives… forever.

    Included in that survival is an option of a cull to reduce 9 billion down to 1 billion.

    Earth cannot continue to grow the human species sustainably without a cull.

    With the Methane doomsday scenario in 2050 we have an opportunity to satisfy you craving for the human species to survive and thrive …. forever.

    With 9 billion members and growing the human species cannot survive and grow.

    One cannot hate one’s fellow humans to the misanthropic extent of wishing Mother Nature to wipe us out and start over, without being a traitor to the human species and derelict on your duty to nature AS a human.

    To turn that around how can you allow 9 billion people (and growing in an unsustainable manner) without being a traitor (your strong word not mine) and showing dereliction of duty to nature as a human.

    A person cannot believe in sustainability like a Green and promote policies of unsustainablity in the manner of National. There are therefore NO National supporters who understand and support sustainability the way Greens do… it isn’t a matter of my experience or encounters, it is a matter of logical impossibility.

    A person cannot believe in the sustainability of earth to maintain 9 billion people and believe in Green sustainability at the same time.

    it is a matter of logical impossibility to believe being Green and able to maintain 9 billion people on planet earth is sustainable.

    That ought to put the cat among the pigeons :-)

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  19. Gerrit

    A person cannot believe in the sustainability of earth to maintain 9 billion people

    … and when did I even hint that the planet could support more than 3 billion? I know what I have said when population numbers and carrying capacity have come up.

    That we as a society fail to responsibly manage our population and the consequent demands on the environment isn’t exactly news.

    We aren’t arguing though, about population control. Wouldn’t be much of an argument, as we both know it is necessary.

    However, you are taking no notice of the difference between controlling and culling the population, nor of the more serious issue of losing civilization, losing what we know.

    I don’t “allow” 9 billion people. I have no say in it. I take issue with the excesses of procreation, and would support efforts to force limits… but that isn’t a question here.

    “Included in that survival is an option of a cull to reduce 9 billion down to 1 billion.”

    In an extremely uncontrolled fashion, leaving us as tribes again, ruled by the largest and strongest. You must not be paying much attention if you think that I simply count up the number of people alive as a measure of the well-being of my species.

    I am far more concerned with the loss of civilization and knowledge, than in the possibility of a cull.

    … and there really is no avoiding the latter with the current mob at the helm. BAU guarantees that we crash.

    To do better than that we have to control ourselves… which isn’t the way anyone who supports National is going to think.

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  20. The current population is 7 billion, it is not expected to reach 9 billion until 2050.

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  21. The current population is 7 billion, it is not expected to reach 9 billion until 2050.

    Just as well the methane levels will cull it back to a sustainable level by 2050 then.

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  22. With a twenty percent projected increase in the worlds population (mostly in third world and developing countries) by 2050, it beggars believe that the Greens think that any option but population control will have any measurable effect on mitigating climate change.

    You can tax CO2 emmisions, try and stem methane release, or a raft of other measures but you will not stem the tide of the human explosion.

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  23. Fortunately those in population growth areas use less carbon/pollute less.

    We need resources to develop clean energy in these areas (so their growth is not resource depletion led)- as we did recently in supplying solar panels to an island.

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  24. @Gerrit

    Control of population happens when people have education. It happens when they have some sort of security. It happens when they are not so poor that there isn’t any other choice… and that is well enough documented.

    What else? Shall we have a “one child” policy for Africa? Brazil? What do we do about the Pope?

    Most of those people have a carbon footprint VASTLY smaller than our own however… and even MORE impressively miniscule than that of a USian. They aren’t emitting the CO2.

    The Chinese and USians are emitting the CO2, and the Chinese are doing it to provide goods to the US. Reducing emissions in the OECD, China and India is the most important thing… and the population increase you speak of is not adding to the load NEARLY as much as the increase in Chinese and Indian emissions.

    You seem willing to court disaster. The effort to mitigate has to be made, and as much of the die-off as possible kept at bay… not because it is a matter of numbers, even though my heart weeps for every child born into hopelessness… but of the threat to civilization that it represents.

    Go ahead with BAU and the future is far more risky. For everyone.

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  25. Gerrit – population control will be essential but it is not enough on its own. We were already burning too many fossil fuels back in the 80s and 90s. Mankind’s effects on CO2 levels were already measurable decades before then. We need to change the way we do things, and we need to start those changes now. We need to cut back on our use of coal and gas for electricity generation, and replace them with renewable generation. Once we have renewably-generated electricity to spare, we can use it to cut down on fossil fuel use for heating, industry and eventually transport.

    But this isn’t happening because coal and gas are cheap and we don’t adequately price their CO2 emissions.

    Trevor.

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