Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Climate change: Committing to failure

The government announced its climate change target today: 30% by 2030! Except that its not quite the same as our previous targets:

New Zealand will commit to a new, more ambitious climate change target,Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser announced today.

“This target is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030,” Mr Groser said. “This is a significant increase on our current target of five per cent below 1990 emission levels by 2020.”

[Emphasis added]

Yes, they shifted the baseline just so they could get a target which rhymed. But what does that mean in real numbers? An 11% cut from 1990. Hardly "significant", and definitely not "ambitious". While other developed nations are promising cuts of 40% from 1990 over the equivalent timeframe, we're sitting here with our thumb in our arse.

But its not just unambitious - it also commits us to failure. National has committed us to a 50% reduction in 1990 emissions by 2050. Earlier I pointed out that any target below 27% was dumping the effort of emissions reductions unfairly on future generations. And National isn't even doing half that. It's the classic New Zealand climate change policy:

As a country, we can and should do better than this.