Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Climate Change: More Labour foot-dragging

Yesterday the IPCC released the final part of its Sixth Assessment Report, warning us that we have very little time left in which to act to prevent catastrophic climate change, but pointing out that it is a problem that we can solve, with existing technology, and that anything we do to reduce emissions will improve things. In that report, they highlighted the need to urgently reduce methane emissions in order to limit temperature rise (methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 85 times worse than carbon dioxide, and while it is shorter-lived, that also means that any reduction will have an outsized and immediate impact). As we should all know, Aotearoa is a disproportionately large source of methane, due to too many cows. So is the government going to heed that advice and urgently act to reduce methane emissions? Of course not. instead, they're delaying even the weak action on agricultural emissions they had planned.

Labour's plans were, to put it bluntly, a crock of shit, promising farmers that they would pay the "lowest price possible", which would not be connected to the ETS price, and that they would receive a 95% subsidy larded with bullshit unrecognised "offsets". Effectively its a giant subsidy to the dirtiest, least efficient part of our economy, at the expense of urban Aotearoa, which pays for every gram of carbon we emit. So, possibly this delay might be good, insofar as it gives the government time to work on a better policy (and at this stage, I should point out that the default option of putting agriculture into the ETS at the processor level is 50% more effective than the bullshit they have come up with). But this is Labour, so that's unlikely. Instead, its just more of their backsliding, which has seen them toss climate change policies onto the bonfire in order to appeal to the 10% of kiwis who think we're already doing too much).

But at this stage in the climate crisis, when cities in Aotearoa are flooding, there's little difference anymore between foot-draggers and deniers. Both are trying to murder us all; the only difference is that the deniers are honest about it. In Labour's case, a vote for them is a vote for continued climate inaction, a vote for fire and flood and death. If you want real climate action, you need to vote for a party which actually offers it. And that means the Greens or Te Pāti Māori.