New Zealand’s global shame

Written By: - Date published: 4:01 pm, August 13th, 2009 - 65 comments
Categories: climate change, International, national/act government - Tags:

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 ‘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 ‘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 ‘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’.

65 comments on “New Zealand’s global shame”

  1. r0b 1

    And it gets worse Marty:

    Overnight, New Zealand told delegates from 190 countries in Bonn that the Government’s emissions reduction target of 10-20% below 1990 levels is dependent on developed countries as a whole cutting their emissions to 30-40% below 1990 levels.

    “My jaw hit the floor,’ said Geoff Keey, who was in the meeting at the time. “New Zealand has effectively told the rest of the developed world that if they work really hard to reduce their emissions by up to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, we’ll do half of that.

    “There’s been so much rhetoric from the Government about New Zealand doing its “fair share’ they’re now calling for other countries to pick up our slack.’

    Contrary to claims on Radio New Zealand by Climate Negotiations Minister Tim Groser, New Zealand’s target has not been well received internationally.

    The statement from New Zealand came after the Philippines delegate questioned the New Zealand representative on how it matched its 10-20% target with its requirement that the rest of the world be on a pathway to stabilise global warming at 2 degrees.

    New Zealand was also questioned on its target by Colombia, South Africa, Micronesia, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Bolivia.

    This prompted the South African delegate to challenge the New Zealand Government, noting that New Zealand was creating a dilemma for developing countries by demanding greater action from them on one hand, for which they wouldn’t get carbon credits, while also expecting to be able to buy carbon credits from those countries.

    “”The Government needs to start pulling its weight. At the moment all it’s doing is embarrassing New Zealanders on the world stage”,’ said Geoff Keey.

    • Good comment Rob and good post Marty.

      The bit that really beggars me is that this Government is saying that we will build half a bridge when we know that a whole bridge is required but our building half a bridge is conditional on other developed countries agreeing to make significant progress to building a whole bridge otherwise we may not even build half a bridge.

      I had to really stretch my brain to see if this could be rational but I got a headache instead.

      It is a shame that the MSM have not commented on why this requirement is so bizarre.

      • Tigger 1.1.1

        Come on ms – you know better than to expect rational thought from this lot. A selfish and conceited government like ours doesn’t really think about the whole picture. It only cares about what it cares about and stuff the rest.

  2. 2

    Citizens initiated referendum anyone…
    “Should fucking over the planet as a part of “good economic management” be acceptable in NZ?”

    • mike 2.1

      or ‘should fucking over the economy as part of ‘looking green” on the global stage be acceptable in NZ”

      • George D 2.1.1

        Funny, you would almost think that scientists were recommending large cuts in emissions!

        It’s not though. I read today LaRouche saying it was a genocidal plot thought up by Prince Philip.

        Captcha: Confusing – all too confusing

      • Maynard J 2.1.2

        Mike, how about “should destroying New Zealand’s marketing image and ability to trade as part of burying your head in the sand be acceptable in New Zealand?”

  3. BLiP 3

    Meanwhile, the National Inc Minister of Tourism says:

    The Government is in talks about expanding the 100% Pure New Zealand tourism campaign to become a “master brand” for the whole country.

    What a master stroke – right on the eve of an international conference which could have boosted Aotearoa’s standing on the world stage John Key completely undermines his own efforts and, well, basically, falls off.

    The John Key National Government Inc – 100% Pure Bullshit.

  4. Rob A 4

    I think you are all missing the point. We in NZ could cut our emissions 100% and it wouldn’t do an iota for the worlds climate. I am not a denier and I dont mind the idea of us doing our bit but if the rest of the developed nations are aiming at similar targets then we IMHO are doing the right thing. Until the worlds major polluters are doing real things then why should we?

    Our economy is going to be fragile enough in the next decade without us throwing money away on pointless projects

    • BLiP 4.1

      That National Inc emissions target will only further weaken the economy. John Key has already trashed our “Master Brand”, the protection of, surely, would have been a good enough reason to lead the world by example.

    • Rob A

      So instead we should do nothing?

      Each developed country for identical reasons could decide to do nothing.

      Without agreed commitment from each country we are stuffed. This is why it is so important that New Zealand does its bit. Right now the Government is proposing that NZ does half of its bit. If the rest of the world does the same then we may as well kiss goodbye to ice at the poles, polar bears, many pacific islands, a quarter of the world’s species, Bangladesh, large parts of China and New York …

    • So every one aught to sit around waiting for someone else to go first. That is really going to get things done!

    • Con 4.4

      I’ve heard this line before but it makes no sense, really. It’s a logical fallacy.

      Think about a big country, with a big carbon footprint, like the USA. The United States is made up of a lot of little states. On average, these states are about the same size and population as NZ. Now, why on earth should Oklahoma make any effort unless the rest of the world makes a bigger effort first? Why should Washington? Their carbon emissions are very small compared to the global total.

      Even a big American state, like California (which is heavily populated and highly industrialised compared to the rest of the US) is only a bunch of counties and municipalities. Why should San Diego make an effort unless Los Angeles makes a bigger effort first? Why should LA do anything if Orange County has cleaned up its act first?

      The reality is that the only way the world can address the issue of global warming is if we all make an effort together. Those countries which are richer, and which already emit more carbon, have no ethical or logical basis for not pulling their own weight.

      • Rob A 4.4.1

        Sorry but the only thing that makes no sense to me is you comparing a country to a part of another country. By your logic we should be comparing Omaha with Hawkes Bay.

        We could descend into a debate on the bygone virtues of nationalism in todays global age but I feel thats a whole other thread, and we’d probably agree which would make it a short discussion.

        All the replys I got make the valid point that somebody has got to take the lead on this issue but I honestly dont think it should be us. Perhaps those who have done the majority of the polluting can take the lead in the cleaning. And there is no way I’d ever be convinced that NZ making a 40% commitment is somehow going to shame the major polluters into following suit. These countries will put thier own interests first and until they agree to a meaningful commitment then very little can be achieved by the rest of the world.

        • Con

          Sorry but the only thing that makes no sense to me is you comparing a country to a part of another country.

          I wasn’t comparing a country to a part of another country at all – so you are simply confused. Actually I made an analogy between countries on the one hand, and parts of countries on the other hand. Your rhetoric (to the effect that someone else should go first) could be applied to countries, to regions, or even for individuals, but although a handy piece of rhetoric (sophistry) it carries no weight at all, in a logical sense.

          somebody has got to take the lead on this issue but I honestly dont think it should be us. Perhaps those who have done the majority of the polluting can take the lead in the cleaning

          Had it escaped you that NZ has one of the higher per capita emissions in the world?

          • Rob A

            Not at all, but it doesn’t matter. NZ as a country makes somewhere around 0.3% of the worlds greenhouse gases, the difference between cutting that by 40% and 15% is insignificant in the extreme. You can figure it out by nation or per capita but the fact remains that until the US, China and Russia make a real commitment then the world is screwed.

            • Eddie

              by that logic, I shouldn’t worry about paying my taxes because my taxes are only a tiny part of the total… as long as everyone else pays everything will be sweet… but what if they follow the same logic?

            • Rob A

              Eddie, you are right. If you were to stop paying your taxes the effect on the nation as a whole would be nil.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox

          If NZ can’t do it, who can?

    • mike 4.5

      No Rob A!

      Don’t you know that the rest of the world are waiting with great anticipation on what NZ are going to do with our emissions reduction target.

      We ‘are’ the standard to which all other countries measure themselves against.

      Sacrafice is noble at a time like this..

  5. Gaint Mason Philly 5

    New Zealand’s global shame = child abuse and infanticide rates.
    Good one eh bro, have a cigar bro.Why worry.Lets ban cellphones in cars.

    • BLiP 5.1

      Yeah, bro – good to see National Inc are having a huge impact on improving the child abuse, eh? Perhaps Crusher Collins would rather have her boys in blue chasing down cellphone using drivers instead.

    • bobbity 5.2

      Indeed it would be nice to see action by the government on a issue where they could make a difference.

  6. graham 7

    did you know that agg emisions are not counted in either european or usa emisions.why should we they have more cows than us . now even if we shoot all livestock in this country we will effect total world emisions by 0.001%.
    do you really understand the economic cost to do this crap .i have a family of 4 i cant afford a 200 week paycut which is what the cheep option is not greenpeaces one. if we follow this path we will become a 3rd world economy . i wonder if you guys understand that. we wont be able to aford to pay for welfare,health education etc is that what you want? wake up your choice will mean povety for new zealanders

    • wtl 7.1

      So you’d rather f**k up the world that you are leaving for your kids? That is the reality if nothing is done. Debate or you want, disagree or you want, but when that reality does hit, just remember that your children will know you were too selfish or ignorant or whatever to actual fix the problem before it became too bad.

    • BLiP 7.2

      The economy will get worse unless people like you stop your greed-based denial. You are like a worried sailor fearing his ship will fall off the edge of the world.

    • Con 7.3

      Graham you’re just making that figure up, aren’t you? 0.001% is far too low, I’m sure. Let’s see you cite some source for your figures.

      • Armchair Critic 7.3.1

        Looks like graham can barely spell or construct a sentence, so I doubt his figures are anything more than a figment of his imagination.

    • Eddie 7.4

      All graham’s figures are made-up. He probably heard them on talk-back.

  7. Andrei 8

    So who the hell are CAN-I anyway?.

    Bunch of over privileged wackos who can afford to whine about their fantasy problems

    Why don’t these self absorbed individuals put their money where there mouth is and go
    and live a carbon neutral lifestyle in Burkina Faso, say, where the people have no options certainly not the option to issue inane press releases – too busy just surviving, scrabbling for enough to eat!

    They’d soon change their tune. wouldn’t last a week.

    I’ll bet none of you fools have been anywhere in the third world, in fact most of you probably haven’t ventured further than Australia. And you have never seen how grim and dirty so called “sustainable” life styles are – you are all full of shit – the planet is NOT being destroyed by little old New Zealand nor by the UNITED STATES.

    The Planet is not melting or over heating, what is happening is a bunch of cretins who have never been hungry in their lives, who have been pampered since the cradle and who have the luxury of having too much free time have come up with a scary fairy tale to scare themselves and their children with and for parasites to use to scum money from the gulliable

    I cannot believe this utter foolishness.

    • BLiP 8.1

      Good to see you’ve learned not to trot out the pseudo science and have retreated back into good old fashioned flat out denial and abuse. You may take comfort from the fact that your condition is not unique and there is treatment available. You are suffering what’s called empathy-deficit. Good luck.

      • Andrei 8.1.1

        empathy-deficit. ?????

        Now thats pseudo science.

        How many kids do you have BLiP?

        I have four, I want them to have a fulfilled and happy life. I want them to have a prosperous future – not to have it stolen from them by morons who think the world is going to end and the parasites who prey on this fear to line their own pockets.

        • BLiP

          You didn’t read the link, did you Andrei, because once again you have it round the wrong way: it is those who fill you with climate change denial shit so that they may line their pockets. That link is to an American news program, saves you the struggle of having to read. Poor dear.

          I pity your kids.

          • Andrei

            Of course I read the link BLiP;

            It was a waffle that said people who don’t believe in Global Warming lack empathy for others.

            Problem is that is a non sequitur designed to demonize political opponents which actually says nothing at all about whether or not humans are causing climate change.

            Now can you tell me how the projected 2+ degrees c of warming alluded to in the post was derived?

            Who derived it and what methodology was used –

            What assumptions went into the derivation?

            What were the initial parameters used, how were they measured and the uncertainty in them. And what is the uncertainty in the result and how was this calculated?

            That my friend is what science demands, the data, the methodology and the uncertaintys. And that my friend is what all you doomsayers cannot deliver.

            All you have is empty meaningless slogans

            • BLiP

              Oh, now its the “prove it” denial tactic. Well, that’s an easy one to fix. Here, knock yourself out. You’ll find that all your little questions were answered years ago.

              I have to admit it wasn’t until I spent some time on the site that I began to realise just how serious the situation is. The content, especially in the assessment reports which is where most of the actual science is found, is pretty dense and presupposes considerable knowledge which I don’t have and, as a reult, I had to double-check on other less academic sites. I have a list available if you are genuinely interested and not just winding me up.

              Go on, face the facts – do it for your kids, Andrei.

            • BLiP

              Oh, so now its the “prove it” denial tactic. Well, that’s an easy one to fix. Here, knock youself out.

              I have to admit it wasn’t until I had spent quite a lot of time rummaging around on that site before I began to realise just how serious the situation is. The hard data you request is pretty dense and presupposes considerable scientific knowledge. Happily, there are plenty of “plain English” sites which can assist in explaining terms and definitions. If you’re not just winding me up, I’m happy to give you my list of suitably non-partisan and reputable sites.

              Go on, Andrei – face the facts. Do it for your kids.

            • BLiP

              Beg your pardon and well done. We are making progress. I see its now the “prove it” denial tactic. Well, that’s an easy one to fix. Here, knock youself out.

              I have to admit it wasn’t until I had spent quite a lot of time rummaging around on that site before I began to realise just how serious the situation is. The hard data you request is pretty dense and presupposes considerable scientific knowledge. Happily, there are plenty of “plain English” sites which can assist in explaining terms and definitions.

              Go on, Andrei – face the facts. If you can.

  8. outofbed 9

    Andrei.. compelling argument you’ve convinced me

  9. Mike D 10

    It is Y2K again people, utter bullshit. You can bet that there are a few people making good money from all of this.

    It’s bloody cold down here by the way, Climate Change, ooops thats right it is Winter.

    • Ianmac 10.1

      Mike D: I think that you must know that Climate and weather are not the same things. An average increase of even 2 degrees in Climate, will have a dramatic effect on weather. In some places drought where never before. In some places floods where never before. Not “today is cold so no Global warming!”.

      • mike 10.1.1

        Are you saying that after all these billions of years of stability the climate is now changing? Holy icebergs batman

        • BLiP

          There weren’t humans pumping billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere during the previous billions of years. C’mon Mike, you’re arguments are usually a lot more deceiptful and cunning than that one. You’re letting your side down. Managed to find John Key’s Birth Certificate yet?

        • Eddie

          mike. you got mixed up when you said ‘after billions’ of years of stability the climate is changing’. Your line is meant to be ‘the climate has always changed, what we are seeing is natural’ (which is like saying ‘some fires occur naturally, so let’s not put out this fire’).

          • mickysavage

            “Holy icebergs Batman”

            Very appropriate.

            It should be “holy icebergs, North Pole, South Pole, Bangladesh, Tuvalu, Rarotonga, Fiji, New York, London, Central Africa, way way too many more places, species, and ecosystems …”

          • mike

            sarcasm / climate change

            The left just don’t get it..

    • kaplan 10.2

      A lot of people did a lot of hard work to avoid the software issues that would have resulted from aging code that failed to account for 4 digit years or the Y2K bug as it became known.

      Most issues would have been fairly minor but some had the capacity to cause widespread problems, mainly in the area of banking but there were also issues that had to be fixed in control systems for aircraft and nuclear reactors, as examples.

      When I see someone trying to say Y2K was a have it really, really, really pisses me off.

      In actual fact Y2K is a good example of where something which could have had serious implications was tackled and overcome in a proactive and largely cooperative manner. If only we could collectively treat climate change in the same way.

      • Con 10.2.1

        Couldn’t agree more.

        And even more apposite is that in the latter part of the last century the world successfully dealt with not one but two extremely serious global atmospheric pollution problems: acid rain from sulphate emissions and ozone depletion from CFC emissions. What saved us was a combination of science, international political accord and international regulation; exactly what we need again.

        But the same selfish pricks who whinged about giving up CFCs haven’t learned their lesson – they’ve just moved on to bleating about their right to emit CO2 as if the whole world owed them a living.

    • BLiP 10.3

      Your denial tactic has been debunked repeatedly – here’s a precis of how you’re argument is wrong – even you might be able to understand.

  10. Akldnut 11

    Heres Jonkey trying to put it over on everyone with his daily diary.

    I especially like the part where he thinks we’re Americans at approx. 4.40 sec, which must make him “Mr. President”. Leader of the free world bwahahaha

    Oh and just so I’m not threadjacking 5.50sec is where he tries to justify Nacts position on -10 to -20% emissions

  11. Daveski 12

    It’s hard to take the substance of this post too seriously when the spin is so laughable.

    Australia couldn’t even get reduction targets of between an unconditional 5 per cent and a highly-conditional 25 per cent through the senate.

  12. Conal 13

    Partly the half-arsed proposal failed because it was too half-arsed (the Greens didn’t support it). Actually Labor can’t get a decent scheme through with support from the Liberals and Nationals because there are too many denialists in those parties. Labor could get a schema through with Green support if Labor were prepared to back themselves and the position they put to the electorate at the actual election, instead of bending over backwards to prop up the coal industry (that’s the Coalition’s job for goodness sake!)

  13. graham 14

    since you toffs want to make fun of my poor spelling heres some facts about me since you guys are to gutless to identify yourselfs.i am married with 4 girls .i am a dairy farmer. i have 530 cows employ 2 other staff.i work a 70 hour week i cant spell perfect nor do i bludge off the state.i do have teritaty education iq 139. but have always been a bad speller so what. fed farmers have released the figures as to the line we are going to destroy the world the point is we arent.we i was growing up in the 80s there was acid rainfears then nuclear winter then there was going to be a ice age ozone layer was going to fail y2k bug every frigging 5 years their is some new scare i get sick of chicken littles runing around saying it is all going to to greed i work hard so i can aford a nice house and anice holiday what is wrong with that would you prefer i sit on the dole and get drunk all day?

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 14.1

      We coped with those crises and i am sure we can do it again. You as much as anyone would know the importance of not dipping into our environmental capital for short term economic rewards. We constantly make sacrifices for our children since the day they are born- I’m sure you’d agree we need to look at the long term science with issues such as this.

    • felix 14.2

      Hey Genius, how about you put your iq of 139 (LOL) to use and see if you can figure out WHY we didn’t get totally fucked by the ozone hole and the Y2k problem.

      I’ll give you a hint: It’s not because they weren’t real problems.

      edit: Zaphod is so much more polite than I.

    • Maynard J 14.3

      Well the good news is that it is not estimated to cost anywhere as much as National have been trying to scare you into believing.

      The bad news is that internationally, there is a fairly wide agreement that carbon emmissions are bad, and something needs to be done about them. The response seems to be a mix of polluter pays and government distributing the costs, but as a farmer, something that was not considered pollution now is – so that means it needs to be dealt with.

      Also remember that if you do not believe it is a form of pollutant, there are a lot of people who do, and they fit into one nice group – they are called ‘customers’. So we need to make sure we are doing something about the problem, or we will find ourselves a pariah.

      Have you ever wondered what would happen if one of those ‘chicken littles’ was right, or, for that matter, what would happen if they were not there to alert the populace to a problem?

      The elimination of CFCs was instrumental in preventing the exacerbation of the ozone hole, but New Zealand still suffers high rates of skin cancer. Have you really thought about what that means? People are dying, as the price of all countries using a dangerous substance.

      What about leaded fuel? The blood level for lead globally is 600 times what it was before the use of lead to relieve engine knock. Who knows what the long-term health effects of that are? I can only assume, again, people are dying and more would be if no one kicked up a fuss.

      As for nuclear winter, that was a real threat and a valid theory. Probably a good thing it did not happen. Who knows what would have happend if no one mentioned it. The cold war may have gotten hot, a nuke lobbed about here or there and suddenly it would all be over – I think that is a poor example you have given.

      “would you prefer i sit on the dole and get drunk all day?”

      To be honest, that is about as bad as ignoring all the problems society faces and not doing your bit, or complaining that the country is choosing to do its bit.

      Given your ideas of ‘chicken littles’ are in fact cases where advocacy and activism has averted or removed serious problems, you must have a long and inglorious history of railing agaist those who are trying to to what has truned out to be the right thing. At least if you were an alcoholic bludger you would not be actively advocating a course of action that is tantamount to recklessness.

      So yeah, perhaps I would prefer that you just got drunk all day instead, harsh as that may sound.

  14. graham 15

    o and i dont smack my girls but voted no

    • BLiP 15.1

      And who said dairy farmers were a backward bunch of inbred illiterates; turns out your actually very modern and market-orientated – the government is still in the very early stages of contracting out its correctional duties. You’re an example to us all.

  15. graham 16

    you lefties need people like me to earn export dollars and yes i do have a high iq .because although i get up early and work hard i have gone in the last 10 years from 0 equity to 7 million (greed is good). now my waterways are fenced i dont break the animal health laws or break any effulent laws but i like to make money.
    go on felix tell me how rich are you?

  16. graham 17

    i wasnt born the son of a dairy farmer .my parents didnt go to the same school or were related so how some left wing toser can call me inbreed god only knows. part of me hopes we follows greenpeaces lead if only to see the destruction of the welfare state because although it will reduce my profit it will drive you left wing tosers into the streets and their will be no welfare to look after go ahead make my day bankrupt new zealand it wont hurt me!!!

  17. kaplan 18

    PM’s man hits out at climate sceptics

    What a shame this was not released a week ago. I sincerely hope it was not ‘delayed’.

  18. graham 19

    do u know what i find most amuseing .i am a farmer that fish and game refer to as dirty dairying but they joke is all you guys who live in cities live in the most environmently unsustainable place in the planet .Concrete jungles with pollution from cars ,people,road surfaces and wood burners and youi have the balls to say people like me are bad what a frigging joke

  19. radar 20

    Could someone please remind me how good the last Labour government was for the environment? They talked a good game but didn’t do jack.

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