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OECD: NZ growth model reaching its environmental limits

Written By: - Date published: 12:08 pm, March 21st, 2017 - 40 comments
Categories: Economy, greens, sustainability - Tags: , , , , ,

New Zealand’s growth model, largely based on exporting primary products, has started to show its environmental limits, with increased greenhouse gas emissions, diffuse freshwater pollution and threats to biodiversity.

– OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: New Zealand 2017

From the Greens,

Today’s OECD environmental report has highlighted the urgent need for New Zealand to change direction and move to a low carbon, green economy, the Green Party said today.

The OECD has said that New Zealand has the second-highest level of emissions per unit of GDP in the developed world. We also have the fifth-highest emissions per capita.

“The New Zealand economy is highly carbon intensive and this can’t be sustained if we want to also play our part in addressing climate change,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“In short, the OECD has found that New Zealand’s growth model is hitting environmental limits.

“The OECD has recommended we strengthen the Emissions Trading Scheme to set a meaningful price on carbon, set a date to begin pricing agriculture’s emissions, and address high and rising carbon pollution from the transport sector.

“Our former Environment Minister, Simon Upton, is telling us that we’ll miss our Paris climate targets if we don’t change direction.

“The last nine years of the National Government have led to our carbon emissions rising dramatically, despite our 2015 pledge in Paris to reduce them. Our rivers are more polluted, and our biodiversity is under increasing threat.

“We need to change the Government if we want to put our country on a green growth pathway — one that protects our environment and provides good paying jobs in the cleantech sector,” said Mr Shaw.

Full Forest and Bird response here.

Coverage from Newshub,

The report highlights a lack of long-term environmental strategy and if we don’t address that, we’ll make unrecoverable environmental loses, says Dr Marie Brown, author of Last Line of Defence.

“The policy at the moment really makes it look as though we want to have our cake and eat it too, but we need to get very much better at identifying environmental bottom lines and environmental limits and understanding that we have to work within them or we’re going to lose that clean, green edge that we have – or we had,” Dr Brown told Newshub.

A history of “soft limits” and giving into commercial interests is taking its toll, Dr Brown said.

“That is reflecting in the state of our fresh water, reflecting in the state of our biodiversity, the state of our climate change emissions. That’s the measure of the effectiveness of our environmental law and policy – whether it can curtail those activities and keep them within those environmental limits, and there’s just not a lot of evidence we’re doing that.”

 

40 comments on “OECD: NZ growth model reaching its environmental limits”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    More evidence that the Limits to Growth was right – FORTY years ago.

    It’s not just New Zealand but the entire world.

    • weka 1.1

      Yep. And the OECD will be conservative. NZ is well past the limits, which is no surprise because National has been running a plunder and poison economy.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        It wasn’t just National as even Labour were. It’s simply the nature of capitalism to be a plunder and poison economy.

        Thing is, it’s what we’re still being promised.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          I think that’s largely true, although I also think there is value in understanding the nuances between Labour and National. Labour are capable of change, I don’t think National are for the foreseeable future. Labour have provisionally chosen to start moving in the right direction. And time is a big factor. The kind of plunder and poison that happens under Labour is slower and easier to recover from should we get some traction. National are hell bent on pushing us all over a cliff we won’t get back up again.

          “Thing is, it’s what we’re still being promised.”

          Again true, but the Green Party policies and kaupapa and decades of messages and work are looking pretty good right now. They are still hamstrung by having to work in a system and country that sees capitalism as the only way, but I do believe they are a door to getting out of that trap.

          It’s still all there, just waiting for the rest of NZ to step up. The Green Party charter,

          The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:

          Ecological Wisdom:
          The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.

          Social Responsibility:
          Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.

          Appropriate Decision-making:
          For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.

          Non-Violence:
          Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.

          https://home.greens.org.nz/charter

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1

            +1

            • garibaldi 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Trouble is for all the truth behind the Green movement we are still categorized as potheads, tree huggers and commies, just like we were 40 years ago in the Values Party.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Best response to labels is to adopt them. Don’t forget to thank the pothead treehugging commies for wind turbines and riparian planting.

                Edit: “what have the pothead treehugging commies ever done for us…?”

  2. Keith 2

    It’s about now we need this novel concept called a government, and one that is there for the people and the environment they live in rather than working just for the diary industry and business!

  3. weka 3

    Good to see the call for reducing cow herds about to go mainstream,

    Two new reports on reducing emissions say New Zealand must work on reducing our cow herd numbers if we want to come clean

    Newsroom via https://twitter.com/smcnz/status/843946502560993280

    OECD Environment‏Verified account @OECD_ENV

    With 80% of electricity from #renewables #NewZealand could be a low-emitting country but #agriculture tips the scale http://oe.cd/epr-newzealand

    https://twitter.com/OECD_ENV/status/843938701461794816

  4. Poission 4

    The OECD has said that New Zealand has the second-highest level of emissions per unit of GDP in the developed world. We also have the fifth-highest emissions per capita.

    We are also the only country to include agriculture emissions thanks to Simon Upton.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Was that a typo?

      We specifically exclude agricultural emissions.

      • Poission 4.1.1

        Only in the ETS not in the COP agreement

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          I suspect that one would affect the other. By not having it in the ETS means that having it in the COP is meaningless.

          • Poission 4.1.1.1.1

            COP is the agreement, ETS is only one mechanism for amelioration(and is arbitary and in the hands of the money changers)

            The COP agreement (paris) by which countries estimate their emissions is troublesome alone without countries such as China and India excluding say their Rice production or under reporting coal consumption by 26% in the case of China.

            The so called emission values are arbitrary numbers,error prone and subject to revision eg Marland (2008)

            Marland and colleagues (1999) conducted a comparison of two large, “(partially) independent” ( 265) efforts to estimate national emissions
            of CO2. The data differed significantly for many countries but showed no systematic bias, and the global totals were very similar. Relative differences were largest for countries with weaker national systems of energy statistics, and absolute differences were largest for countries with
            large emissions. The two estimates for the United States differed by only 0.9%, but the absolute value of this difference was greater than total
            emissions from 147 of the 195 countries analyzed.

            The 10 countries with the largest absolute differences between the two estimates (for 1990) included the USSR, North Korea, India, Venezuela, and China. When the differences between the two estimates were summed, without regard to sign, the difference for the top 5 emitting countries was larger than the sum of the differences for the remaining 190 countries.

  5. Size 14 steel capped boot to the National party core ministers butts , then.

    They are failing on so many fronts its unbelievable now.

  6. weka 6

    Good coverage from Newsroom,

    Cars and cities feature, too. The OECD report includes advice for building more liveable homes and cities, less-polluting transport and cleaner waterways. Ramping up public transport investment instead of pouring money into roads, levelling taxes favouring diesel over petrol vehicles, doing more to encourage electric cars and better housing insulation are all on the “please do” list. And it’s not just mouldy old villas that are highlighted in the housing efficiency area. Even new houses are not being built to as high an energy-efficiency standard as they are in many other countries, meaning they may one day need retrofitting, says the report.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/03/20/15936/cows-cars-and-cities

  7. Cinny 7

    But, but, the national party says everyone else is wrong and they are right.

    And when nothing goes right… turn left. Am so sick to death of their excuses to cover their own failings.

    The day after spring equinox EVERYTHING will change, everything.

    Until then, roll on 5pm, feeling like a kid waiting for christmas lolz

  8. AB 8

    “We need to change the Government”
    On its own that’s not enough – we need to totally and permanently discredit their economic ideology. Once the Labour Party is regarded as being at the right-wing end of sane political thought, we might be getting somewhere. We need to redefine the ‘thinkable’.

  9. Bruce 9

    Maybe we could look at more efficient protien production Use less land, less water, fewer resources to produce more good food and less harmful emissions.
    Farming crickets is one such solution.

  10. adam 10

    100% pure neocon disaster.

  11. Tarquin 11

    I was in England a while back. Similar geographic area and sixty million people. They seem pretty happy, must be nuclear saving them or maybe this report belongs in the shredder.

  12. “they seem pretty happy”

    That’s okay then. So long as people “seem pretty happy”, there’s no need to consider anything else, ’cause, you know, people are king.
    Edit: shouldn’t Tarquin’s comment be in the “Dumbing down a generation” thread?

    • Tarquin 12.1

      Oh dear Robert your communist slip is showing. The people are king in a democracy if you can’t convince them of that you will never get their vote. And no, you don’t know better regarding threads. Have you ever been to England? I must admit I wondered what everyone did all day, they don’t seem to manufacture a huge amount, went to the pub at lunch time and the weather was god awful. Considering the population the place didn’t seem crowded and the biggest issue seemed to be immigrants pouring in. A lesson to be learned I feel.

      • weka 12.1.1

        England will be well and truly fucked if we get runaway climate change.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.2

        Why don’t you set yourself up in business as a consultant on Englandiness? Your facts are so facty and everything.

        • Tarquin 12.1.2.1

          At least I got out of the echo chamber and had a look. I already run a successful business so won’t be taking your unsolicited advice.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.2.1.1

            You and I have successful businesses, and that’s nice. There is next-to-no useful information about England available at The Standard.

  13. Greg 13

    There is no way this government would accept this report the only way nz will change direction is if overseas consumers or trade groups launch a boycott of nz products it’s the only thing our Tory government will understand if we are not pulling our weight why should we be allowed the same access conditions to markets as countries who are playing there part without resorting to fraudulent carbon credits.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      National would never accept anything like this as it tells them that their beliefs are wrong and that is something that they cannot accept.

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