Monday, October 21, 2013

Climate change: Projecting failure

Back in 2011, the National government finally gazetted a formal climate change target: a reduction to 50% of 1990 emissions by 2050. So how are they doing? The Ministry for the Environment's Annual Report out today includes a graph of projections, and they're not good:


[From p. 60 of 2013 Annual Report; red line indicating government target added]

As you can see, emissions are projected to rise and rise and rise. As for that "50% by 2050" target, it is left in the dust. Why? Because the government simply has no policy to reduce emissions. Its flagship policy, the ETS, has been so gutted and compromised that it is now worse than useless, a means of subsidising dirty industries to pollute further rather than clean themselves up. Even the progress it had made towards limiting forestry emissions has been undone, thanks to National's insistence on accepting junk foreign credits. And as a result, our expected peak emissions are in fact 20 million tons worse than they were projected to be just last year.

Credible policy would build on the progress we've made to have that projected emissions line gradually decline towards the target. Instead, it widens the gap. The upshot: National's policy is simply not credible.