Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Climate Change: (Local) government in denial

Just when you thought the reality of climate change was settled in New Zealand, the West Coast Regional Council reminds you that some people are not interested in facts:

The West Coast Regional Council wants more scientific evidence to prove human-driven climate change is happening before it will commit to reducing emissions.

The council does not support the government's Zero Carbon Bill and is the only regional council in the country to reject it.

In its submission, the council said if West Coasters were to commit to emissions targets, "the evidence proving anthropogenic climate change must be presented and proven beyond reasonable doubt".

I guess the West Coast really is a decade behind the rest of New Zealand.

Its easy to understand why they've taken this position: the West Coast's economy is based on coal mining, dairy farming and forestry - all things we need to stop doing if we are to stop climate change. Its a perfect example of Upton Sinclair's comment that "it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it". But meanwhile, while the coal miners and dairy farmers on the council cover their eyes and stick their fingers in their ears and deny reality, Granity keeps washing away and the tropical cyclones keep coming and the costs keep mounting. And the council keeps sticking its hand out for money to clean up these messes rather than taking basic steps to minimise the risk.

As for what to do about it, that's up to West Coasters. There are local government elections later this year, and West Coasters can decide whether they want to be represented by climate change deniers or not. But if they decide they do, then they shouldn't expect a lot of sympathy from the rest of New Zealand next time the climate bites them.