Monday, December 01, 2008

Climate change: MAF's view

One of the final rituals of an election is the progressive release of the briefings to incoming Ministers. Today we saw the first of these, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry [PDF], and it has some very clear views on climate change:

International climate change frameworks and institutions have the potential to significantly impact on the primary sectors and their overseas markets. It is, therefore, of considerable strategic importance that New Zealand is both engaged, and sufficiently credible in its domestic policy settings, to influence international responses to climate change. New Zealand agriculture and forestry must be, and must be seen to be, part of the solution rather than the problem.
The reason why is clear from this map:


Add it up: at $3.95 billion a year, the EU is our largest market for agricultural exports - bigger than the US and China put together. And they're very sensitive to environmental issues such as climate change. Dragging our feet will undermine that market and potentially cost New Zealand exporters hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

And what has our new government just done? Announced to the world that they're in the same camp as outgoing US President George Bush by dithering (yet again) on implementing policy while conducting a laughable review of the science. It's a stupid, shortsighted policy driven by stupid, shortsighted old men who are still in deep denial about our environmental impact on the world or its growing unacceptability in our major markets. And we'll all be paying for their intellectual sclerosis in years to come.