Thursday, December 19, 2019

Climate Change: Compromised

The Climate Change Commission is going to be a key body in determining future climate change policy. Under the Zero Carbon Act, it will effectively be responsible for setting long-term carbon budgets and emissions reductions plans, setting a long-term downward pathway for emissions, as well as reviewing the agricultural target ("effectively" because while formally they only advise the Minister, the clear intention of the Act is that this advice is always going to be followed).

Obviously, it would make no sense for someone like a fossil fuel executive to be appointed to the Commission. It would be a clear conflict of interest and undermine it from the outset. And yet, when the members were appointed on Tuesday, they included Nicola Shadbolt, a farmer and former Fonterra director. In other words, an advocate for New Zealand's most climate polluting industry, dairy farming.

This compromises the Commission from the beginning. They might as well have put someone from OMV on there. And because of this appointment, we can't have any confidence that the Commission will do what is required to control agricultural emissions, or recommend a strong target when the agricultural target is reviewed. And given that agriculture is our biggest source of greenhouse gases, and that we can't meet any credible target without massively reducing it, that is a problem.