Thursday, September 21, 2023

Climate Change: National's policy for failure

We already know that the National Party are de facto climate change deniers who want to reverse virtually all climate change policy. So how do they think they'll cut emissions? According to their climate change spokesperson, polluting corporations will do it out of the goodness of their hearts:

The National Party won’t use subsidies to incentivise companies and families to buy EVs and fossil-free equipment because “social obligation” would fill the gap, its climate spokesperson Simon Watts has said.

Asked about the party’s criticism of the Government’s heaviest-hitting emissions policies at the Climate Change & Business Conference this week, Watts indicated ministerial pressure might replace them.

“Let’s be clear, if you’re making a couple of billion bucks a year, then I think you’ve got a social licence to do what you need to do in order to reduce emissions,” he added.

If taken at face value (rather than just as a cloak for more denial), this is at best dangerously naive wishful thinking. Polluting companies have had twenty years of increasing pressure to reduce emissions. Where they've done so, it's been because there has been policy imposing emissions charges or providing subsidies to align incentives with that social goal, or just directly regulating emissions to reduce them. How do we know this? Because in the agricultural sector, which has faced social pressure but - thanks to climate quislings like National and Labour - has had no policy to impose costs or subsidies transition or regulate emissions down, emissions haven't really dropped at all (and the sector continues to ferociously resist any effort to do so). So basicly National's "policy" would extend the agricultural sectors failure to reduce emissions to transport, energy, industry, and all other sectors of the economy. And at a time when the planet is literally on fire, that is downright dangerous.