Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Climate change: More empty promises

New Zealand has officially ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. Good, I guess - but its worth noting that the non-binding target that we have set ourselves under the agreement is extraordinarily weak, even by New Zealand standards. We're promising a mere 30% cut on 2005 levels by 2030 (or an 11% cut in honest numbers), which is dwarfed by the EU's honest 40%. We're even being beaten by Brazil!

And then of course there's why we ratified. Not because we have any real commitment - New Zealand had planned to ratify as late as possible. Instead, its so we can pursue our policy of special pleading and dishonest accounting:

Bennett said the European Union was initially not expected to ratify until next year, but had now moved to do so within the next week.

The EU's entry would push it over the 55 per cent of emissions required.

As a result New Zealand moved its own date forward from November when it had aimed to ratify in time for the next major climate change summit in Marrakesh.

"That means we are part of the first tranche. It is as much symbolic as anything else, to be part of that first tranche. But there have been noises that the '55-club' may be able to sit in different committees that are deciding accounting processes round forestry and international trading and that sort of thing."

"Forestry and international trading and that sort of thing" being the vital accounting tricks by which the government plans to "meet" its target. Rather than actually cutting emissions...

While I'm pleased that New Zealand has ratified, under the current government we're merely making empty promises we have no intention of keeping. You - and your children - deserve better than that from our government.