Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Climate change: A poor performance

With negotiations at Copenhagen underway, Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network have released their fifth annual Climate Change Performance Index [PDF], which ranks major industrialized and developing nations on their efforts to combat climate change. New Zealand ranks 55th out of 60 - worse than the United States. Unfortunately they don't have a breakdown of our score, but looking at the methodology [PDF], it will suffer because we have rising emissions, a poor performance against international targets, a high emissions intensity, poor domestic policy, and we are fast becoming a climate villain on the international stage. About the only thing that's saving us from being down there with Canada and Saudi Arabia is our high level of renewable energy (and the government wants to erode that by building coal-fired power stations).

We have to do better than this. There is currently a yawning gap between our "100% pure", clean and green image, the way we like to think of ourselves, and reality. Our government should be closing that gap. Instead, it seems to want to widen it. And that will eventually have serious repercussions on our tourism and dairy exports, making us all worse off. But I guess by then the cannibals with golf clubs who run this country will all be dead, leaving us to clean up their mess.