Russel Norman

Is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English a climate change denier?

by Russel Norman

Is the Deputy Prime Minister of our country a climate change denier? It may well be the case.

During question time in Parliament yesterday I wanted to get into the lack of focus and inaction from this Government on climate change which is starkly highlighted by the suffering our drought-stricken farmers are going through.

I expected the debate to be around what actions were the right ones to take and who should bear the cost but, it ended up being about whether climate change was real or not.

Dr Russel Norman: Does he accept that human-induced climate change is real?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: It may well be, but I am not sure what that has got to do with this particular question.

Climate change is an inconvenient truth but the science is conclusive and political leaders around the world are now in agreement it exists and are working at ways to limit how extreme it gets.

There’s no ‘may well be’ about it.

Even Prime Minister John Key accepts there’s climate change he just doesn’t want to do anything about it. In fact this Government is actively undermining international efforts to tackle the problem.

That’s been condemned internationally but Bill English dismissed that: “The fact is that being condemned internationally by a handful of NGOs is not going to influence New Zealand Government policy.”

Tell that to the most senior Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), who described New Zealand’s decision last year not to sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as ‘very disappointing’.

New Zealand will be hit by more droughts and more intense droughts because of climate change, yet this Government is doing nothing to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions, and it has refused to make commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions.

The Government doesn’t have a strategy to develop a national strategy to tackle climate change. It will it just leave the New Zealand public and businesses like farms to face the costs and harsh effects on their own.

Which is crazy given that responding to climate change now and incentivising green tech would put us in a much better economic position than being a slow follower.

Photo Dominion-Post

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Russel Norman on Thu, March 14th, 2013   

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