Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The PCE on climate change

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a major report on Drilling for oil and gas in New Zealand: Environmental oversight and regulation today. I'm still working my way through it (because the intersection of the Crown Minerals and Resource Management Acts does not fill me with joy), but I couldn't help but notice this offhand comment about the current government and climate change in the introduction:

The Government has committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to five percent below our 1990 emissions by 2020, but there is no plan for achieving this – neither the Energy Strategy nor the greatly weakened Emissions Trading Scheme will do it.

Perhaps I have become particularly sensitive, but I seem to be increasingly hearing that it is pointless for our small country to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases because our contribution to the global total is insignificant. But this is a recipe for inaction everywhere. The Minister of Climate and Environment in Norway – another small country – recently said it better than I can:

“Norway accounts for 0.04 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In isolation, what we do is of little significance. But we cannot think like that. Every Chinese city, every U.S. state, every coal power plant emission is small in the larger whole. We will not get anywhere if we just point at each other.”

National's "plan" for climate change is to keep denying our ability to do anything until it is too late for action. This isn't credible, and its not even adult. We helped make this mess, and we need to take responsibility for our part of it. But taking responsibility is precisely what National is opposed to, because it will adversely affect the profits of their polluting donors and cronies.