Monday, May 06, 2019


Last week, the atmospheric observatory at Mauna Loa recorded a carbon dioxide concentration of 415 parts per million for the first time in history. This isn't just notable as a record high; as the RNZ story points out, we cracked 400ppm in 2013. So we've increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide by 15ppm in just six years.

Back in the days before everything started catching fire and blowing down and flooding, scientists thought 450ppm was a safe long-term target. At current rates, we will reach that concentration in just 14 years. 450ppm would give us a mere 50% chance of staying within the old 2 degree target - a target we now know is catastrophic. So we have less than 14 years to reduce emissions dramatically, or your children burn and your grandchildren starve.

Faced with this urgency, you'd expect the government to be pulling out all the stops to reduce emissions. Sadly, they're not. The Zero Carbon Act has been delayed, there's been no action to bring farmers into the ETS, and they're dithering about with a "just transition" summit for polluters. Unfortunately, thanks to their past decades of inaction, there is no longer time for a just transition. Instead, we need to just transition: decarbonise now, as quickly as possible. End oil, end coal, push transport to public transport and electric, with a government investment in renewable generation to power it all, and force farming back within its environmental limits. And if polluters get run over in that process, fuck 'em. They caused this problem, so its only fair they pay the price for it.