Thursday, July 03, 2014

Climate change: A do-nothing approach

Another day, another example of our government's "do nothing" approach to climate change:

A lobby group has challenged the next government to introduce a climate change act that would galvanise promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help New Zealand "catch up" with proactive countries such as Denmark.

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser last night congratulated Generation Zero on its proposals, but said it wasn't New Zealand's place to position itself out ahead of where international negotiations were at.

Which, as under National New Zealand is part of a group of countries actively impeding those negotiations, basically means doing nothing. The difference from our historical role on nuclear weapons, human rights and women's suffrage couldn't be any starker. This is a government with no ambition, and no commitment to the future.

As for the specific proposals National is rejecting, five-year carbon budgets are an essential mechanism for reaching any target, whether National's pathetic ones or something more realistic. They're also a vital means of holding government to account for not meeting those targets (e.g. by the usual NZ "strategy" of setting targets and then doing nothing to achieve them). Which is exactly why politicians hate them.