Carr spoke to more than 500 business and policy leaders at the business and climate conference in Auckland today.
He was one of a number of speakers who said the country’s plans to reduce emissions rely too heavily on planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide planting, instead of actually cutting the amount of damaging climate gases being released.
They said the practice was not in keeping with international efforts to keep warming below catastrophic levels.
The government is currently reviewing the emission trading scheme.
I’ve never made the effort to understand the mechanics of the ETS, because from a whole systems, working with nature POV it’s always looked like the kind of BAU madness one would use if you didn’t really intend to change. Plant and pollute sums it up. The same thinking that got us in this mess won’t get us out of it.
My political position has been that we needed the ETS as a stepping stone to shift politics, business and the public to a point where the real work could happen. The Greens got caught up in the mainstream’s inability to take climate seriously, and took a pragmatic approach all these years: work with what you’ve got is a valid strategy when other change is not possible.
So I am very pleased to see the Climate Change Commission’s chair Rod Carr speaking to business leaders this week about the need for reform. And indeed that the government is already reviewing it.
I’ve been pretty glum lately about our ability to make the changes necessary to save humans and other life from climate catastrophe. We know what to do, but we have lacked the political and social will to effect that change.
This announcement restores my faith somewhat, because it also points to policy not being set in stone, and it leaves a door open to other change, including the fast and radical change we will need at some point. This we can be preparing for.
I’m incredibly grateful to James Shaw and his team as well the Greens for doing the invisible, hard slog within the parliamentary and government systems that will mean as we do adopt change the governance and policy systems are already on board and in a position to move. This is gold. Do you see yet how good it is that we have a suit as co-leader of the Greens?
If we shift from a plant and pollute model, what are the options? Carr, Shaw, the business community will work on how to help the business and political classes integrate this. I expect this will be slower and less radical than many climate activists want, but again, a move in the right direction while we are building momentum.
More and more people are starting to talk about the need to consume less energy and goods. There is heaps of work being done on models and systems like Doughnut Economics, the circular economy, degrowth and steady state. I write about the Powerdown. If you’re feeling stuck or depressed, go look at what is being done and what works. All the things we need to act are there, there is more being done now than ever before.
An explanation and critique of emissions trading (aka cap and trade), from 2009,
A last note. New Zealand is in a prime position to lead on climate transition. We have a Green party already in government (kind of), and a centre left party able to form government that is led by someone of the climate generation who gets it. Research shows a high percentage of New Zealanders want the government to do more on climate. Imagine what we could do with a third term Labour led government with strong Green and Māori Party numbers inside caucus.