Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Climate Change: Left in the dust

The government's Zero Carbon Bill, which would establish a framework to drive New Zealand towards net-zero emissions of everything but methane by 2050, is currently in select committee. The government is spinning this as an ambitious plan to fight climate change. Meanwhile, Finland has just left us in the dust:

Finland will go carbon neutral by 2035, under a coalition deal published on Monday, setting one of the world’s earliest timelines for reaching that mark.

After more than a month of negotiations, five parties agreed on the goal championed by incoming Social Democrat prime minister Antti Rinne.

Rinne told reporters it was time to “invest in the future”, presenting the climate strategy as part of a package with increased welfare spending.

The new government said it would legislate the target and then review it in 2025.

That's an all-gases target, by 2035. And Finland has further to go than us: 40% of their electricity still comes from fossil fuels (including peat), and they have a huge paper industry which they're going to have to bring down to sustainable levels. They're goign to have to spend billions to phase out dirty systems and replace them with clean ones - but the government has committed to that (or to just regulating them out of existence and finding other jobs for unemployed peat cutters and forestry workers).

This is the sort of crash decarbonisation which is needed, and it is happening because the government - a broad coalition of five parties - has recognised that this is a crisis and is acting like it. Meanwhile, we're diddling around with a 2050 target with an enormous loophole for farmers. If you're looking for a demand to put in your submission to the select committee, then this is it: all gases carbon neutrality by 2035. Follow Finland, not farmers.