Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Climate change: the government gives up

It's official: National has given up on doing anything about climate change. At this press conference yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister John Key said that New Zealand would aim for an emissions cut of about 15% by 2020.

This is far lower than the 25% - 40% recommended by the IPCC, far lower than what is necessary to convince China and India to come on board, and far lower than what is being offered by countries which are serious about the problem. On the latter front, the EU is offering 20% unilaterally, and 30% if others come on board; the UK has a legislated binding target of 34%, Germany is going for 40%, and Scotland has set a target of 42%. Costa Rica, which isn't even an Annex I party, is offering 100% - as are tiny Tuvalu, the Maldives, Niue and Tokelau.

What Key's statement tells the world is that New Zealand isn't serious about climate change. What it tells our Pacific neighbours is that we are happy to see them drown. Either way, the consequences for our global "clean and green" brand - the foundation of our tourist and agricultural wealth - cannot be good.