Climate Minister Groser continues to insult the New Zealand people – this time through our leading scientists.
On Monday the IPCC released Working Group III’s section of its 5th Assessment Report. Building on Group I (science) and II (impact), this one addresses strategy (see my blog-post of 15 April). In a possibly unprecedented action, leading scientists advanced the view that New Zealand is not doing its ‘fair share’ in combatting climate change.
So I put those comments to the Minister during Question Time on Tuesday. Mr Groser’s answer to my Primary was that New Zealand’s reputation in terms of our contribution to climate change is ‘just fine’.
Whatever a Groserian ‘just fine’ means; the Vice-President of the Marshall Islands regards New Zealand’s contribution as a ‘joke’.
In answering supplementary questions, the temptation to denigrate critics proved irresistible to this Minister.
Associate Professor Bob Lloyd (Otago University):
“…in international climate change negotiations, NZ is regarded as a particularly ‘tough’ negotiator. By ‘tough’, read ‘selfish’. New Zealand has obtained concessions in terms of emissions reductions that many other countries would regard as not being a fair contribution to obtaining equitable global reductions.”
“I totally reject the assertion”.
Dr Jim Renwick (Victoria University):
“New Zealand is as well-placed as any nation to lead the world on this, provided we have the political will. That appears to be lacking right now.”
“New Zealand is absolutely in the right space on this issue.”
Prof Ralph Sims (Massey University):
“In the foreword of New Zealand’s recent Communications document to the United Nations, Minister Groser stated, ‘The emissions reduction opportunities available to other nations through conversion to renewables, mass public transport and energy efficiency in industry have already been done or have far less scope in New Zealand’. The IPCC Mitigation report clearly shows this is far from correct.”
“Going around pretending that every country in the world is doing 10%, 20% or 30% reductions is complete and utter nonsense, so I think that ‘stick to the knitting’ would not be a bad piece of advice.”
For the record, Dr Renwick was a lead author of IPCC’s Working Group I. Prof Sims was a lead author of Working Group III. Their comments formed part of a media release by the NZ Science Media Centre, dated 13 April and titled “IPCC AR 5: Limiting Greenhouse Gases – Experts Respond.” Its explanatory statement says the following:
“The Science Media Centre (NZ) is an independent source of expert comment and information for journalists covering science and technology in New Zealand. Our aim is to promote accurate, evidence-based reporting on science and technology by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community. The SMC (NZ) is an independent centre established by the Royal Society of New Zealand with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The views expressed in this Science Alert are those of the individuals and organisations indicated and do not reflect the views of the SMC or its employees.”
The scientists, in advancing their comments, were sticking to their knitting. They were advancing their individual views on a matter in which they know as much as the Minister — not just the science of climate change but on the need for, and adequacy of, a strategic response to the threat.
The Minster impugns them in the NZ House of Representatives. As such, he owes them an apology.