Thursday, August 21, 2008

Climate change: progress?

Radio New Zealand reports that negotiations on the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill are in their final stages and seem to be making good progress. Which is very good news. At this stage of the game, we can't afford to piss around for another two years developing yet another version of the same policy. So they have to get this through before Parliament rises for the election.

The Greens apparently still have major reservations and could still walk away. I urge them to put those reservations aside and support the bill. Yes, it's an ugly compromise which rewards polluters and doesn't do nearly enough to reduce emissions in CP1, but it will at least prevent future emissions growth and open the door to long-term reductions by progressive lowering of the cap. Alternatively, if short-term reductions are so important, then the bill is still better than the alternative of walking away and letting emissions rise for another two years while National dithers over a weaker scheme. All along, our climate change policy has been crippled by a consistent pattern of rejecting imperfect controls now in favour of supposedly perfect controls in the future. I urge the Greens not to repeat this mistake.