Thursday, February 17, 2011

Climate change: Policy failure

According to Gerry Brownlee in Question Time today, Solid Energy's proposed lignite plant in Southland will emit between 10 and 20 million tons of CO2 a year. By way of comparison, our total emissions in 2008 were 74.66 million tons. So if Solid Energy's project proceeds, it will increase our emissions by 25%.

The government has set itself an emissions reduction target of 20% by 2020, and 50% by 2050. These are reductions in net emissions - gross emissions less offsets. But even so, if this project continues, it will make those targets impossible to meet.

This is policy failure on a grand scale, and it is goign to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. A serious, credible policy would have made it clear that Solid Energy's project would not be allowed to proceed. Instead, it is likely to receive free carbon credits. So the government is going to subsidize the undermining of its own targets, and the destruction of the global environment.

National's climate policy is empty spin - targets, without any policy to meet them. Can I have some grown ups in charge of the country, please?