Monday, September 07, 2020

Climate Change: Not walking the talk

The government talks a big game on climate change. According to Jacinda Ardern, it is "my generation's nuclear-free moment", which implies they will take strong action. But when actually in power, this government has been a failure, backing away from strong action in favour of the same old policies of delay and pandering to polluters. And its not just the big stuff: the "my generatiton's nuclear-free moment" government can't even be bothered to measure how much it is emitting:

Stuff asked nearly 50 central Government agencies to supply information relating to their annual greenhouse gas footprint.

Only eight were able to give complete, up-to-date data.

Stuff also asked the agencies if they had offsetting policies for staff and contractors, and whether the agency had, or was in the process of developing, an emissions reduction plan. The vast majority of agencies said no to both.

As they say, "you can't manage what you don't measure". The government's refusal to effectively measure its emissions makes it more difficult to reduce them, makes it more difficult to act. It also prevents them from offsetting them, which I guess to the bean-counters in Treasury is a way of saving money. But it also means there's no financial pressure to avoid or reduce polluting activities. So they've just shuffled the whole thing under the carpet.

And it didn't have to be this way. Back in 2007 the Clark government introduced the idea of the "Carbon Neutral Public Service" - getting the public service to report and reduce its emissions. Environmental vandals National axed it the moment they took power, of course - but weirdly this basic, obvious measure wasn't reinstated by Labour in 2017 (and if the Greens pushed them on it and failed, they haven't spoken up about it). Which shows how little the Ardern government really cares about the key issue of our times. Oh, they'll talk a big game when trying to convince people to vote for them, but in reality its just the same old business-as-usual - they're happy for us to all burn and drown provided Fonterra keeps making money for a few more years. We - and the planet - deserve better than that.