As widely reported yesterday, the Nats have set out our emissions reduction target (Small and Wannan):
Tim Groser commits New Zealand to 11pc cut in greenhouse gases
The Government has set a target of an 11 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels.
New Zealand is required to announce a target for the years 2020 to 2030, which may be provisional, ahead of a key climate change summit in Paris in December. The meeting aims to keep global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, to avoid long-term droughts, acidifying oceans and mass extinctions.
Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser described the goal as “fair and ambitious”. He said New Zealand’s high renewable electricity generation and agricultural emissions meant there were fewer opportunities to reduce its greenhouse gas outputs, which were the fifth-highest per capita in the world.
But Green Party climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham said the costs of reducing emissions now would be far cheaper than dealing with the fallout catastrophic climate change would have on GDP, farms and families. “By committing to such a small reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, it means other countries will have to pick up our slack.” He also criticised the Government’s choice to frame the target as a 30 per cent reduction on 2005 levels, instead of using the traditional 1990 standard. “Using 2005 as a benchmark is pure spin.”
Labour environment spokeswoman Megan Woods said the Government appeared to have given up on the goal it set for itself four years ago, of halving emissions by 2050. However, more important than setting targets was actually following through and meeting them – something New Zealand had so far been unable to do. “That’s not surprising, because the Government has no plan on how we are going to reach them.” Ministry of Environment figures show that, in 1990, New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 60,641.4 tonnes. In 2012, total greenhouse gas emissions had increased by 15,406.5 tonnes, or 25 per cent, to 76,048.0 tonnes.
The only good thing that you can say about this target is that it is better than nothing. But not much. Hot topic (Gareth):
NZ EMISSIONS TARGET ANNOUNCED: UNAMBITIOUS, INEFFECTIVE AND MORALLY REPUGNANT
There is no sign in the target announcement made today, or in any part of this government’s climate policy that they understand the true seriousness of the issue that confronts NZ and the planet as a whole. They appear to have no appreciation of the strategic and management blunders they are making, all in the name of keeping semi-mythical costs down. The new target, described by Professor Ralph Sims as “low ambition”, doesn’t even set NZ on course for the government’s own 50% reduction by 2050 commitment, let alone address the need for a more credible 100% reduction by that date.
The legacy that Groser and the Key government will leave to the future will not be a new flag, it will be a New Zealand crippled by their smug, arrogant and morally repugnant climate inaction.
Note also that the target is lower than that specified by more than 99% of respondents in the governments “consultation” process:
So what was the point of the govt's climate change consultation process when 99.5% of submitters were ignored? pic.twitter.com/mERK1fFFq0
— John Hart (@farmgeek) July 7, 2015
Here’s a sample of the international reaction:
New Zealand’s post-2020 target – Weaker action for a less competitive economy
New Zealand has released a low initial post-2020 emissions reduction target, which risks the nation’s competitive position by stranding its economy as the most pollution intensive in the developed world, The Climate Institute said today.
“Critically, by not doing its bit to help avoid a 2°C increase in global temperature, New Zealand is asking others to pick up its slack and do more,” said The Climate Institute Deputy CEO Erwin Jackson. “If it does not lift this initial offer, New Zealand will join Canada in a family of free riders.”
The Climate Institute’s initial analysis of New Zealand’s target suggests that:
+ New Zealand’s target is not a credible contribution to avoiding a 2°C increase in global temperature above pre-industrial levels. …
+ Based on current targets, New Zealand would be left with the most polluting economy of the advanced economies …
The Nats claim that the costs of taking action are too high. It isn’t true:
PM says 40% reduction target disastrous for economy. Infometrics found it cut annual GDP growth from 2.2% to 2.1% pic.twitter.com/DjI60YIVaW
— Russel Norman (@RusselNorman) June 2, 2015
Recall also the purely economic costs of not acting, according to Treasury: Failure to cut emissions could cost $34,000 per household.
Why aren’t we taking proper action? Why?