Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Climate Change: Chickening out

While the Prime Minister is making caring noises at the climate summit in New York, promising to "lead the way" on sustainable food production and pretending to be ambitious on emissions cuts, the government she leads is chickening out on making farmers pay even 5% of their emissions:

The Government's plan to make farmers pay for their emissions is on shaky ground after Labour, the Greens, and NZ First have failed to agree on proposals.

A draft scheme went to the environment, energy and climate cabinet committee, but failed to make it through after ministers could not agree on it.

It has now stalled at the cabinet committee stage, while ministers work to agree on a plan.

The membership of the committee is here. And its pretty easy to see who the roadblocks are. Apart from Peters and Jones from NZ First, there's also Labour's Damien O'Connor and Stuart Nash, MPs who have never felt that farmers should pay their way. But unless they do, there will be no incentive for them to make the changes necessary to reduce emissions. Which makes it the usual "policy":

Agriculture is responsible for ~50% of our greenhouse gas emissions. We can not meaningfully reduce total emissions without reducing agricultural ones. And if we're using a price-based measure for the rest of our emissions - if the 86% of us who live in cities are paying for every gram of carbon emitted by our electricity, our transport, and our consumer goods - then it is only fair that farmers pay that price too. Anything less is both unfair, and not politically sustainable.