New Greens co-leader James Shaw made climate change his defining issue, and issued a challenge to John Key to discuss common ground and work towards climate change solutions.
Naturally Key, who always puts politics ahead of the common good, declined with bad grace and worse command of the facts:
Key rejects Shaw’s climate offer
Mr Key said what Mr Shaw really wanted was for the Government to “see it the Greens’ way” on climate change. “It’s pretty clear that the Greens want a reduction target significantly greater than the economy can afford,” he said. “A target of a 40 percent reduction on 1990 levels would be disastrous.”
The Greens been as effective as ever in countering Key’s nonsense.
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
John Key responds to @jamespeshaw: another report shows it'll cost a lot more to reduce emissions. Not an official report. Can't table.
— Julie Anne Genter (@JulieAnneGenter) June 3, 2015
Treasury says if NZ doesn't cut its emissions, and has to buy offshore carbon credits, cost will be up to $52 billion. Let's cut emissions
— Russel Norman (@RusselNorman) June 3, 2015
Today, even an anonymous editorial in The Herald comes out in support of The Greens:
Key should accept Shaw’s climate offer
John Key should treat seriously the challenge issued by the Greens’ new co-leader to find common ground on climate change. James Shaw sounded genuine in his victory speech on Sunday when he declared himself open to working with National “where there is common cause”.
National has always overstated the economic costs of putting a realistic price on greenhouse emissions. If it were to adopt a 10 per cent reduction target, the consultation paper estimates the value of household consumption in 2027 would be lower by 1.5 per cent, or less than $1300 a year. GDP growth could average 2.3 per cent rather than 2.4 per cent a year. The prospect is hardly terrifying, and it is based on a carbon price of $50 a tonne – about eight times its level in emissions trading at present.
The Greens have always argued that the economic costs would be more than made up by the economic opportunities available to early movers on clean technology and adaptations to climate change. It is a possibility National tacitly accepts by investing in efforts to reduce methane emissions from farm stock, source of nearly half of New Zealand’s greenhouses gases. It reports promising developments on that front without clear commercial prospects as yet.
As we in Dunedin clean up after record-breaking rain and flooding, in the full and certain knowledge that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, I hope that Key will get some guts, heed the advice of The Herald editorial, and stop playing politics with climate change.