The IPCC has released its latest report. There are all sorts of more eloquent ways to describe the issue in detail but basically the world’s environment is stuffed if we do nothing and there will be extensive devastation unless the human race starts acting now. And the belligerent anti intellectualism that is evident amongst part of the population and which is stirred up for political gain by conservative politicians and their deep pocketed shallow thinking corporate supporters will mean that any action will be delayed, probably until it is too late.
There is nothing new in the report. As stated by Graham Reardon in the Guardian the latest report on the impacts of climate change makes dire reading, just as the first one did almost a quarter of a century ago. And as summarised by Suzanne Goldenberg the world faces threat to food supply, conflicts over water rights and growing inequality. The only option to is cut emissions.
Locally New Zealand will be facing more and more of the sorts of events that we are already witnessing. More frequent once in a century weather events, more flooding, more inundation, more drought. And increased rates of extinction of flora and fauna. For instance the appearance of Kauri dieback may be in part because increased temperature makes phytophera more viable. A warmer average temperature is going to play havoc with local ecosystems.
When faced with such potentially devastating events you would normally think that our leaders would take urgent action. Unfortunately this does not appear likely.
John Key himself is a scientific sceptic. In 2005 he said:
The impact of the Kyoto Protocol, even if one believes in global warming—and I am somewhat suspicious of it—is that we will see billions and billions of dollars poured into fixing something that we are not even sure is a problem. Even if it is a problem, it will be delayed for about 6 years. Then it will hit the world in 2096 instead of 2102, or something like that. It will not work.”
And he is busily engaging in the resuscitation of the ACT party, just so that National has political “options”.
The Act Party has a brand new look and an educated sounding Philosophy lecturer with an English accent is now its leader. But Jamie Whyte is not going to cut it as long as an intellectual analysis of the issue is required. Last Sunday he went up against Greens co-leader Russel Norman. Very clearly Norman wiped the floor with Whyte. Norman’s clarity of thought compared to Whyte’s muddled attempted populism was jarring.
White’s comments on the issue are really naff. He considers action against climate change to be “moral exhibitionism”, that New Zealand should not do anything unless a number of other countries also agree and that New Zealand should be adapting not working to prevent. His attitude is disappointing. Requiring other countries to all act will reduce New Zealand’s efforts to that of the least committed, when preservation of the world’s environment requires every nation to do as much as they can. He also thinks poorer countries should lead the way. Obviously he wants to preserve a first world privilege. Unfortunately for him climate change will not ignore such distinctions and wreck the most comfortable of lifestyles.
Act has announced that stifling the emissions trading scheme is a bottom line for a future coalition with National. From Act’s website:
Act’s policy is that the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) should immediately be abolished,” Act leader Jamie Whyte said today.
“Our absolute bottom line to provide National with ongoing support on confidence and supply is that there be no expansion of the ETS until China, the United States, the European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, India and Japan and Canada take similar material steps to implement ETSs across their economies, including agriculture,” said Mr Whyte.
“New Zealand is well ahead of any other country in imposing climate change costs on our economy – and we are the only ones even considering including agricultural emissions. We should not move any further ahead until the world’s top ten emitters follow.
“We need a responsible climate change policy that sees us move in line with the rest of the world on mitigation and which focuses on any adaptation policies that are needed.
You would normally take such a threat from a party polling possibly as high as 1.4% could be safely ignored. But charter schools are an example of where National has let its tail wag it.
So this may be the price to pay if National gets re elected and gifts Epsom again to Act, a commitment to do nothing further about climate change. If you need any reason to work to get rid of this Government this has to be it.