There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]
Labour released its climate policy yesterday. Already in the election campaign I have fronted on climate change in a number of public meetings, with Labour (and National, and ACT….), with several more events still to go. Inevitably one of the questions asked is – how might Green and Labour climate policies reconcile if you are […]
A sharp rise in in agricultural emissions shows the National Party’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) must go and a meaningful carbon price be applied to the sector. According to new Environmental Protection Authority data, agriculture’s greenhouse gas output rose 7 percent last year. We cannot continue to ignore such a large and growing contributor to […]
At its AGM last weekend, the Green Climate Protection Package was rolled out. – It contains the over-riding goal of net carbon-neutral economy by 2050, with a National Carbon Budget comprising a series of five-yearly budget components to get to that goal. – There will be an independent Climate Commission to advise the Government on […]
Every now and then, things emerge in the give-and-take of daily life that illuminate insights with a deeper, underlying significance. Such was the case yesterday. Some of us around the planet harbour a passing concern that dangerous, and perhaps catastrophic, climate change is likely if global greenhouse gas emissions do not begin to reduce very […]
They are not perfect but they lead the world in climate policy. If humanity rescues itself from dangerous – or worse, catastrophic – climate change, it will not be because of the US, or the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) or CANZ (Canada, Australia, NZ). It will be because of the EU. Before the defining […]
Climate Minister Tim Groser gave New Zealand’s statement on Wednesday night, here in Warsaw. Not wishing to be heap unfair criticism but loyal opposition prompts a few thoughts. Mr Groser’s ‘large realities’: 1. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” This was raised on a theoretical basis by Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius, in 1896. The […]
I have not been so angry in my five years in Parliament. Yesterday I wrote about the obscene policy failure of this Government in forecasting an increase in net emissions of greenhouse gases from 56 million tonnes in 2011 to around 98 m.t. in 2028. It was, I suggested, perhaps the biggest policy failure in […]
So we returned to the House on Thursday to extend another opportunity for the Minister to explain to the nation his thinking on climate policy. We were still wrestling to reconcile the scientific observation in the Gluckman report that ‘climate change is now’ with the Finance Minister’s comment that climate change ‘may well be real’. […]
Yesterday the World Met. Organization released its annual ‘Statement on the Status of the Global Climate’. The report, which investigates the major climate & weather events of the past year, found 2012 to be the 27th consecutive year with above average global temperatures. Global average temperature in 2012 was 0.45⁰C warmer than the 1961-90 long-term […]
The 18th UN annual climate change conference commenced on Monday. I’ll be attending the 2nd week, and will blog from there about its dynamics and outcome. Meanwhile the Key Government, with breath-taking timing, has taken two decisions in the run-up to Doha, both resulting, intentionally or otherwise, in seriously weakening New Zealand’s climate change credentials […]
Two months ago, international scientists reported that the Polar ice-cap had melted far faster than the IPCC anticipated, about 80% since 1980. It might have its first ice-free day about 2015 (half a century ahead of expectations) and be completely ice-free around 2030-35. This was described as ‘terrifying news’ by the leading scientist, since it […]
It has been a week of climate change. A quarter century, actually, since the US Senate and the Brundtland Report put the issue on the international agenda. We’ve had, since then, Rio and Cairo, Kyoto and Marrakesh, Copenhagen and Cancun and Durban, and Rio again. But the past week has been especially intensive, and this […]
The National Government has decided to kneecap the ETS and it doesn’t really want to hear the views of people who disagree. Were it otherwise, it would have given more than two weeks for people to make a submission – the way you’re expected to, with New Zealand draft legislation. Last week, the Government introduced […]
Thursday was one of those rare moments when parliamentary debate tosses up a touch of democracy – a juxtaposition of deeply-held views, expressed back-to-back, in one bill before the House. First up on the Order Paper was the Government’s latest foray into climate change legislation – the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading & Other Matters) […]
Professor Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s science advisor, delivered a speech today about “Bringing science and policy together for good environmental outcomes”. While he touches on many issues some positive others not so much I wanted to focus on a particular issue he addresses. Part way through his speech he highlights that “[s]cience and technology […]
Well-known columnist Colin James recently observed that there are rumblings from on high in UN climate change circles that New Zealand risks losing its status as an earnest player and honest broker because the current ETS is “loose and without a cap”, and because the Government’s 2020 emissions reduction target “has so many conditions that […]
Environment Minister, Amy Adams, presented New Zealand’s statement Wednesday afternoon. In some ways it was a good statement. As required, it sought to portray the Government in the most positive light possible. As required, my job is to constructively critique it. The statement bore little resemblance to the draft I had suggested yesterday, but that […]
Yesterday our PM announced with Australia’s PM that officials would be starting work to align the eventual Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) across the ditch with our own. Julia Gillard seems however to have received some misinformation about our ETS: Gillard said Australia needed to catch up with New Zealand on pricing carbon, saying New Zealand’s […]
Today I launched a Member’s Bill and a tetris-like computer game as a part of our campaign to keep dirty lignite coal in the hole. Lignite is bad for the environment and our economy. We should be pursuing modern renewable energy solutions, not 19th Century coal. First the serious part. The Climate Change Response (Low […]
With Labour’s announcement about bringing forward the ETS there has been a bit of hype about what that means. John Key talks about it as if the ETS is like throwing our dairy industry to the wolves with similar comments by others. There has been a lot of rhetoric but few hard figures. How much […]
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has completed a report entitled Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal. “The plans to increase lignite use are extremely concerning as they would produce huge quantities of carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change – the biggest environmental threat we have ever faced.” The […]
The Major Electricity Users Group (MEUG) is complaing that the $145 million cash dollars of taxpayer money that Nick Smith’s ETS will give them between now and the end of 2012 is simply not enough free money.
The pub was packed last Wednesday evening, with a solid Green contingent supporting Russel! You briefly can see our table at the end of Chapter 2 when Wilber won a book about something or other. You can watch the show at http://tvnz.co.nz/back-benches/s2010-e26-emissions-trading-special-video-3736153 I think Russel did really well – as usual there was a lot […]
I questioned Gerry Brownlee in the House about his recent draft Energy Strategy. The ideological blinkers are clearly preventing us from moving purposefully towards a low-carbon economy.
A Wellington couple, entreprenuerial tree-huggers if you wish, criticise Fed Farmer’s head-in-the-sand attitude on climate change in the Nelson Mail today. They’ve invested in carbon farming a 47ha block of marginal land in Golden Bay. Jonathan Kennett and Bronwen Wall aren’t wringing their hands or seeking emissions subsidy handouts; they’re getting their hands dirty planting […]
A compelling wee video that exposes the problems of emissions trading from the same person that made The Story of Stuff. The Greens have been keen on a carbon tax since 1993, and only supported Labour’s ETS after much soul searching and negotiating some big improvements as it was the only game in town. It was […]
The NZIER has put out another of their ‘Insights’ papers, this time highlighting just how vulnerable our exports are to consumer perceptions that our goods are not sustainably produced. An urgent risk identified is that we are perceived as a country not making serious attempts to reduce our carbon emission, which will give our competitors an opportunity to turn market preferences away from our export products and services.
In all the time I’ve been hopping around Parliament I’ve never heard a statement more extraordinary than this one: The numbers from Treasury are nonsense. Treasury can’t tell us what the deficit is going to be in December let alone what’s happening in 2030 or 2040. Now, I’ll admit to having a go at Treasury […]
This first anniversary of the National-led government is also the fourth anniversary of the death of former Green Party Co-Leader, Rod Donald. With the many retrospectives being written about the “new” government, my thoughts turn today to what Rod might have thought about the developments of the last year. There’s been commentary claiming the government […]
“Agricultural intensification over the past 10 years has led to the highest rate of native vegetation loss since European colonisation.” Landcare Research Annual Report
It was no surprise to me to find this morning a new ShapeNZ poll shows Kiwis overwhelmingly reject National’s proposed changes to the ETS.
Eighty-two percent of National voters believe emitters should pay for any emissions in excess of New Zealand’s agreed limit under the Kyoto treaty, not taxpayers. Among Maori Party voters this rises to ninety-one percent.
In a classic case of doublethink, the minions at the Ministry for the Environment have withheld all the contents of an ETS cabinet document clearly labelled “Approved for Release”.
I’m using Nick Smith’s own words from last year because they are so suitable. This Government’s ETS legislation is so flawed and so rushed that it will require significant amendments after the election to make it workable. In the meantime, the rushed consultation period is coming to a close, hot on the heels of the […]
Now here’s a great idea for economic development. Extract lignite, the lowest quality coal, very wet and of low calorific value. Add copious water pollution, coal seam methane and land disturbance from open cast mining.
It is clear from the minister’s briefing last night that the main purpose of National’s changes to the ETS is to make us effectively the seventh state of Australia. The bill mimics exactly the bill the Rudd government has been trying (unsuccessfully) to get through the Australian senate. So a bill that has been twice […]
For the first six months of this year, wilding pine control cost DOC $811,000 in carbon liabilities – a large amount for a department that has already had its budget for this year cut by $13.5 million. That money could have saved some endangered species, increased the area of land under pest control, or – got rid of more wilding pines.
Methanex could get $87 million in free credits each year. Under the Labour scheme Methanex would have paid for their growth. Under National’s scheme, taxpayers do.
Basically, it’s less obligation for everyone, and more delay. Taxpayers pick up the cost. It seriously weakens the scheme we have now, and will do little to reduce emissions.
The Maori Party seems to be having difficulty getting the National Party to agree to raising the core benefit to compensate for higher electricity and transport fuel prices under the ETS.