Monday, February 10, 2020

One million more tons of CO2 under Labour

When Labour was running for election, Jacinda Ardern famously said that climate change was "my generation's nuclear free moment". The implication was that her government would take the problem seriously, and act swiftly to reduce emissions. The reality:

New Zealand will emit a million more tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2020 than previously forecast, new figures from the Ministry for the Environment show.

The 2019 edition of the biennial climate change report, mandated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, contains new projections with a gloomier outlook for the country's greenhouse emissions. While the 2017 report had forecast 79.96 million tonnes of gross CO2 equivalent emissions in 2020, the new numbers predict 80.93 million tonnes for this year.

The government will no doubt blame this on policy settings it inherited from the previous government. Sure, and that would be a strong excuse if they'd moved swiftly to change those settings and reduce emissions. Instead, they dragged their feet - their landmark Zero Carbon Act only became law late last year, while they are only now changing the ETS settings they inherited from National. And even then, the reality is they're still not changing much: they still have a free ride for our biggest polluters, huge subsidies forever for industrial emitters, and market parameters which effectively fix carbon prices at a low level, meaning no incentive for anyone to reduce anything. As for transport, our second-biggest emitter, they're refusing to call time on fossil fuelled vehicles, delaying the switch to electric, while they're also trying to keep the offshore drilling industry in business and undermine their own exploration ban. Basicly, their half-hearted, half-arsed policy has continued National's inaction for three years, so they own this.

Australia is burning down (and then flooding). The ice caps are melting. New Zealand desperately needs a government which will take this problem seriously. Instead we have a government which is incapable, and an opposition which is unwilling (worse, which actively wants to drive us to armageddon so their 23,000 farming families can keep making a profit). What is it going to take to get real change?