Friday, September 29, 2023

Climate Change: The wrong direction

This week the International Energy Association released its Net Zero Roadmap, intended to guide us towards a liveable climate. The report demanded huge increases in renewable generation, no new gas or oil, and massive cuts to methane emissions. It was positive about our current path, but recommended that countries with net-zero pledges bring them forward to ensure a safe future (so e.g. aiming to be net-zero by 2040 rather than 2050). Meanwhile, the ACT party wants to on in the opposite direction, and renege on our existing climate pledges:

The ACT Party has raised the possibility it would renege on New Zealand's international climate pledge under the Paris Agreement.

On the campaign trail on Tuesday, the party's leader David Seymour said that as well as repealing the Zero Carbon Act and its emissions budgets, ACT would "tie New Zealand's emissions cap to our trading partners' emissions", saying the country was going further and faster than its partners.

[Aotearoa is in fact a laggard among our developed country trading partners, whose targets are typically more ambitious than ours. But ACT's real goal here is to echo US denier talking points blaming China]

This is just the latest phase of ACT's climate change denial. Having accepted it is no longer socially acceptable to deny that the climate is changing or that we are the cause when people are burning to death because of it, they've instead gone for doing nothing in order to delay action and preserve the profits of polluters. But with Aotearoa increasingly facing floods and storms as a consequence of that pollution, I don't think that's socially acceptable either. And its certainly not going to be acceptable to the EU, whose trade agreement includes a climate clause binding us to meeting our existing Paris commitments. But maybe Rimmer wants to renege on that too?