Well, there goes our clean, green image. After Key announced the pathetic 10-20% emissions reduction target, we were declared ‘fossil of the day’ by environmental groups attending the Copenhagen climate change conference. Here’s Eco, talking about the failure of New Zealand and other developed countries:”The New Zealand target completes a rather dismal Annex I picture. The targets put forward by Annex 1 nations, in sum, amount to only a 10-16% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. More than 40% by 2020 would be in line with the science.
Think of it this way: imagine that you have a giant chasm to cross. Call it a â€˜grand climate canyon’, if you will. Your entire population lives on one side of the canyon, but scientists warn you that floods, famines and food shortages will cause unimaginable suffering, unless you can find a way to cross to the other side. Your best scientists, lawyers and engineers conference together, do the measurements, and determine that you need to build a bridge exactly 1,000 metres long, to enable your fellow citizens to cross safely to the other side.
But for some unknown reason, your social and government leaders decide to build a bridge that only goes 500m. Citizens see the government making â€˜progress’, they celebrate, and they are lulled into the false sense of security that they will be safe. Their leaders happily shepherd them onto the bridge, and they happily march forward, towards their impending doom.
In the same way that you can’t be half pregnant, you can’t reduce emissions by only 20% by 2020 and miraculously expect the climate to stabilise below 2 degrees C. You need to go all the way.
To be safe, you can’t just build half a sea wall. You can’t plant half a tree. You can’t use half a condom. You can’t use half a parachute. And you can’t reduce carbon emissions by half the amount that science demands. That’s why they call it â€˜runaway’ climate change”
To add insult to injury, Nick Smith had the temerity to use his speech to lecture the Pacific Islands on the need to reduce their tiny emissions. The fact is, they have embarked on ambitious programmes to get off fossil fuels, while we wring our hands and say ‘it’s too hard’.