Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Luxon is a climate change denier

Chris Luxon claims that climate change is a "priority" for him. So what does being a priority mean in practice? Opposing every policy which might make a difference. He opposes the clean car discount (or specifically, the dirty car fee which funds it). He opposes cycling infrastructure and therefore mode shift away from polluting cars. He opposes bringing agriculture into the ETS and making farmers - our biggest polluters - pay their way. And he today he added a few more things to the list:

Christopher Luxon has reaffirmed National's policy of overturning the ban on issuing new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, saying it is a solution to New Zealand's energy crisis. He also suggested his big tax cut policy could change by the time of the next election.

The Government is currently grappling with the high cost of fossil fuels, driven by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. While it is motorists and businesses who are currently most exposed to high transport costs, other fossil fuels like coal, which New Zealand burns for electricity, have also spiked.

Luxon said gas could be used as a bridging fuel, and said the Government should scrap its 2018 decision to stop issuing permits for oil and gas exploration offshore.

Gas as a "bridge fuel" sounded OK 20 years ago (and indeed, its how the UK reduced its emissions: by swapping coal for gas). But this deep in the climate crisis, it is a recipe for disaster. We cannot afford to burn existing fossil fuel reserves if we want to survive, and the International Energy Association - historicly a pro-fossil fuel group - has said that all new development must cease immediately. So the problem with our offshore exploration ban isn't that it exists, its that it does not go far enough. Rather than repealing the ban, we need to extend it, and phase out fossil fuels entirely. Anything less is suicide.

As for Luxon, his continued support for fossil fuels and his opposition to any practical policy to limit emissions show that he is just a dirty old climate change denier (he's simply moved from denying physics to denying we need to do anything about it). And as such, he is unfit for any position of responsibility. He should not be a CEO, he should not be an MP, and he certainly should never be allowed to be our Prime Minister. Fortunately, with MMP, voters have the tool we need to defend ourselves against him.