Thursday, March 31, 2011

Climate change: A dishonest target


The government today formally adopted its climate change target of a 50% reduction (from 1990 levels) by 2050. This sounds, and is intended to sound, as if they're Doing Something about climate change. But this is a lie. As I've pointed out before, the target is meaningless. While they're legally obliged to set one, there’s no mechanism to ensure it is met, and no obligation to even try. And in fact, thanks to National's "reforms" of the ETS, we are already statutorily committed to failure; the target is 50% of 1990 emissions, but the government is legally obliged to hand out an estimated 70% of 1990 emissions in polluter subsidies in 2050.

This target is simply an exercise in dishonesty. Faced with the biggest environmental challenge humanity has ever faced, our government has simply decided to lie about it, secure in the knowledge that they'll be out of office (and in some cases dead) before the consequences come back to bite us. It is a cynical, dishonest move. But its par for the course for National.