Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Climate change: Research is not a substitute for action

World leaders are assembled in Paris at the moment to pretend to do something (while actually doing nothing) about climate change. And in keeping with this, John Key has announced that rather than reducing emissions, he is once again attempting to delay action by funding research instead:

Prime Minister John Key has committed $20 million to find a fix for farmers to reduce emissions from agriculture.

Key is in Paris at the UN Climate Change Conference and acknowledged that half of New Zealand's emissions are from agriculture "where there are not yet cost effective ways of reducing emissions".

The $20m over four years is in addition to the initial $45m investment that will go specifically to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

$20 million over four years is about $5 million a year. Not bad - but at the same time it misses the point. Because funding research in and of itself does not reduce emissions. In order for that to happen, any solution the scientists discover must be widely adopted by farmers. And National has explicitly ensured that there will be no incentive for that to happen, by once again excluding agriculture from the ETS.

New Zealand is also apparently contributing $200 million in aid for victims - again, as a substitute for actually cutting emissions. But as the Climate Network points out, this is much lower than the amount new Zealand spends on subsidising fossil fuels - subsidies Key has increased since taking office (while demanding other countries eliminate theirs). Its a remarkable piece of hypocrisy to cloak inaction - and that's why we're Fossil of the Day.