Thursday, August 18, 2016

Climate change: Bad faith

The big news yesterday was the government's announcement that it would ratify the UNFCCC's Paris Agreement by the end of the year. They'll also be seeking cross-party support on how to implement it, having opposed such agreement for years. But their sudden support for consensus evaporates the moment that they get into specifics, with Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett opposing any strengthening of targets or measures to limit agricultural emissions (which make up almost half of our total emissions). Which smacks more than a little of bad faith. Rather than seeking support for robust climate change policies which will actually have a hope of meeting their pie-in-the-sky "50% by 2050" target, National instead seems to be trying to use a cross-party agreement to prevent such action, binding the other parties to weak targets and measures so that their donors and cronies can keep on destroying the planet.

As for what the response should be, its simple: make no promises to polluters. Support what National proposes for the moment, but make it very clear that there will be a tougher regime when power shifts - and that the softer National's regime is, the tougher that regime will be, because there will be more ground to make up. If National negotiates in bad faith like this, simply refuse to be a part of it.

California is burning down. Louisiana is drowning. They're now talking about zombie-smallpox outbreaks in Siberia due to corpses thawing out in the heat. This is a real crisis. National doesn't want to solve it - or at least, not solve it until polluters and farmers have extracted every last dollar they can from us. We shouldn't let them get away with it.