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Morgan on Key’s climate change cheat

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, December 4th, 2015 - 29 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, global warming, john key, spin - Tags: , , , ,

Gareth Morgan is an interesting commentator, a businessman that gets climate change. He’s written two good posts on his blog in the last few days. Probably best to take them in order, starting with:

Six Ways the Government has exaggerated the cost of meeting climate targets

This week in Paris, New Zealand – like every country – will attempt to justify why our national emissions reduction pledge is credible and a fair contribution to the global effort against climate change. Good luck with that.

Our Government’s argument that the target is fair, rests almost entirely on its analysis of the costs and we see those as significantly exaggerated. … We’d say they’re cooking the books to fit their determination to do as little as they can. Here are the top 6 ways they’re doing that.

1. They have ignored the benefits from acting, as well as the costs of not acting

2. Adding numbers up across a decade to make them look big

3. Other modelling says it’s cheaper

4. The baseline case is unrealistic

5. It assumes virtually no technology change

6. Potential changes in land use are ignored …

See the full post for details under each heading. Then, building on the above:

Shocking Tactics of a Climate Change Cheat

On paper, our government’s 2030 emissions reduction pledge of 11% below 1990 levels looks weak compared to other countries – particularly the EU’s -40%. But they tell us it’s not that simple, that it’s more expensive for New Zealand to reduce our emissions than it is for most other countries. A “fairer share” should be based, not on the size of the reduction but the cost incurred. Hence the -11%. They’ve even claimed that on this basis our target is more ambitious than those of the EU or the US.

Sound reasonable? Like the deliberate ramping up of the costs of reductions that we exposed as hyperbole yesterday, our government’s attempts to show its being heroic with such a puny emissions reduction target, is equally scurrilous.

…the government eventually released the working to show how they got to their view on comparative burden. … All the flawed modelling assumptions we discussed in yesterday’s post apply here – particularly the exclusion of forestry and technology improvements, which by themselves are enough to render any results dubious.

The countries that have put in place carbon prices and other policies get no credit, while the laggards can keep on arguing it’s too costly to catch up. Not only is the Government ignoring the fact we have gone backwards on emissions because of its seven years of inaction, it is actually trying to use that fact to its advantage. Again that’s what you’d expect of a cheat.

The Government wants to have its cake and eat it too, by arguing for both a low target as well as unlimited access to carbon markets. Ironically, planning to just buy our way out with foreign carbon credits means the cost of domestic reductions is basically irrelevant anyway. It’s certainly not an excuse for the weaker target the government has signalled.

We are dangerously close to being laughed out of Paris. All other countries have to do is scratch beneath the surface of our ‘clean green’ image.

As with most of the things this government does, “scratch beneath the surface” and it’s a pretty ugly mess. Thanks to Gareth Morgan for calling out this particularly tragic mess so thoroughly.

29 comments on “Morgan on Key’s climate change cheat ”

  1. Manuka AOR 1

    One country that has put us to shame is Uruguay. From a link posted by Psycho Milt on Open Mike:
    ” in less than 10 years, Uruguay has shifted to 95% of its energy from renewables.”

    “As the world gathers in Paris for the daunting task of switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, one small country on the other side of the Atlantic is making that transition look childishly simple and affordable.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/uruguay-makes-dramatic-shift-to-nearly-95-clean-energy

  2. Matthew Hooton 2

    I trust you understand why the EU looks so good against a 1990 baseline? And why it so strongly advocates for that year because it wouldn’t look so good against others?

    • BLiP 2.1

      You almost sound knowledgeable and sincere but I’m guessing you don’t actually know why 1990 is the baseline, right?

    • galeandra 2.2

      Is that supposed to be some sort of apologia for the appallingly self-interested stance of this government? At least have the honesty to acknowledge the chicanery being practised upon us as our international reputation is degraded yet again by the cynical manipulations of this lobbyist-beholden crowd.

    • Sabine 2.3

      why don’t you tell us?

    • The EU doesn’t have to “advocate for a 1990 baseline.” 1990 is the baseline because that’s when the parent agreement first got written commitments. Resetting the baseline accomplishes nothing and only confuses the issue in order to make countries that acted slowly (the VERY THING that has locked in temperature rises) look better.

      Seeing it seems to be the only way to stop you spinning things, I suggest you be quiet. 🙂

  3. Manuka AOR 3

    For a more immediate view of the horrendous effects of Climate Change right now on the lives of millions of people, visit Africa’s Drowning Megacities (“on the frontlines of the African climate battle”): http://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2015/drowning_megacities/#chapter_1

  4. Philj 4

    At a Meeting of the International Affairs this morning in Wellington topic. NZ on Climate Change – Laggards or Leaders? Of the five speakers none called NZ leaders and all suggested that we are Laggards. Brian Fallow (? Sp) business editor from the Herald dodged calling the government anything in particular.

  5. infused 5

    I hope the govt does impose massive changes to society to combat climate change. It will be fun to watch the riot.

  6. Eralc 6

    Gareth Morgan is a nutter. The Morgans are well-known for their attitude of entitlement in Queenstown – the biggest burn-off for years was on Sam Morgan’s property in October 2014. The Morgans did not give a toss, but an apology was eventually made. We were in Queenstown at the time – the whole town was choked. So I do not consider Gareth Morgan has much credibility when it comes to matters such as this.

  7. Colin 7

    Every single climate conference has been trumpeted as the ‘last chance’ or ‘last hope’ for humanity to save the earth. 20 times now we’ve heard this, ( this is COP21) and yet, here we all still are. And there they still are, the AGW crowd, riding that climate change gravy train for all its worth. How come they don’t practise what they preach, do the whole thing by video conference to minimise their carbon footprint? No business class flights and five star hotels huh?

    It’s never going to happen – a truly binding, ‘meaningful’ climate agreement, that is. Everyone loves the idea of a big climate slush fund – trillions of dollars worth, quite literally, TRILLIONS of dollars is what the UN and ‘vunerable’ nations are asking for – who wouldn’t want their snout in that trough? But the thing is, nobody wants to pony up. And regardless of what the rest of the world does, or what they promise or agree to, India and China and other developing nations are going to build coal-fired power plants hand over fist for the foreseeable future. They’re not going to gimp their economic growth, or stop lifting their citizens’ living standards – and why should they?

    We’ve heard so many claims of impending catastrophe for so long, with a 100% record of failure (name one, just one, that has actually come to pass, please) that it’s become white noise. The public in general is tuning the message out, and starting to get, well, sceptical, about the whole thing. “The sky is falling, oh for real this time, look, here’s a graph! And a famous actor! And a picture of a polar bear in open water! We really mean it, the end of the world is nigh (again), but give us loads of money and we’ll save you from yourself. Taxes and a bit of wealth redistribution will do the trick nicely, just sign here. Consensus!”

    Incidentally, what is the perfect average temperature of the Earth? And the perfect CO2 level in parts per million? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • r0b 7.1

      Colin’s comment is typical of those who are unable to think long term or understand events outside their immediate experience. I don’t mean this in a pejorative way, evolution hasn’t really delivered us a cognitive system that is good at these things. Which is why we are in the mess that we’re in, and why climate change is going to be allowed to massively damage the environment that we depend on.

      (name one, just one, that has actually come to pass, please)

      The Arctic ice-cap is melting.

      • Colin 7.1.1

        Whoa! The artic ice cap is melting you say? That’s absolutely never happened before in the history of the world! That has to be because of us! That’s solid proof right there, where do I send my money?

        The whole Artic is meant to have ‘vanished” by now, several times over – its been the most popular meme of AGW alarmism for decades, along with the mandatory polar bear pictures. It’s melting? Yeah, some years more than others, and still within the bounds of natural variability. And its still there, despite all the models and graphs and scientists that said otherwise. Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice is at records levels – remember the Aussie research boat that had to be rescued when they got stuck trying to prove how little ice was left down there?

        But hey, there’s nothing a few extra parts per million of CO2 can’t do. Hell, its responsible for ISIS, terrorism, and the whole Middle East conflict, right?

        • Colonial Viper

          Colin, you’re in a dwindling minority of people suckered in by Koch Bros propaganda. Enjoy the ride.

          • Colin

            I’m in the ‘dwindling minority”?

            Here’s a link to a current, official United Nations global survey on important issues, such as education, healthcare, political freedoms, climate change and so on. So far, just under 10 million people worldwide have participated.


            Guess which issue ranks dead last in terms of importance by a considerable margin?

            The Koch Bros entered 10 million times, huh?

        • Macro

          Are you sure your allowed out Colin? Your minders are looking for you.

        • Grindlebottom

          The upward trend in the Antarctic, however, is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

          …The planet as a whole is doing what was expected in terms of warming. Sea ice as a whole is decreasing as expected, but just like with global warming, not every location with sea ice will have a downward trend in ice extent.


  8. Reddelusion 8

    eraic touched sore point thier CV, possibly a little to close to home the accusation of do as I say not as I do on climate change

  9. Smilin 9

    Natcorp believes the new NZ began with 2008 nothing before is of any consequence now .We’ve got after all the 100 million dollar man panacea for everything now and we will bloody like it according to Gets some guts
    Jez NZ get rid of the… you can put the last word there

  10. Oximorgan promotes Kiwi Saver ?

    NB. Gareth, Kiwi Saver = CO2

  11. Craig H 11

    At which point does nuclear power get seen as the solution internationally?

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