Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Climate change: Accounting tricks

Representatives from around the world are meeting in Bonn this week for further talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. With emissions on track to give us at least three degrees of warming by 2100, you'd think that their minds would be focused on finding ways to avert that and prevent the hundreds of millions of deaths that will result. But you'd be wrong. Faced with the biggest threat to the global environment, the wealthy countries are offering accounting tricks, trying to rort the system so they can claim emissions reductions without actually having to make any:

Rich countries led by Russia, Australia and the EU have been accused of trying to cheat their way out of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by creating "dishonest" forestry accounting loopholes.

By seeking to change the rules that govern the offsetting of emissions from planting trees and ignoring those that are created by felling them, these nations would give the impression that they were acting to prevent climate change – but a growing number of developing countries and environmental groups say that in reality they would be undermining genuine cuts.

And shamefully, New Zealand is on the side of the cheats. Clean and green? Yeah, right. We promise nothing, and then cheat to get out of even that. Our foreign policy in this area stinks, and we deserve to be held to account for it.