Rhetoric and reality: Nats on climate change

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, December 15th, 2015 - 55 comments
Categories: accountability, climate change, global warming, john key, national - Tags: , , , , ,

The Nats want to wallow in the feel-good rhetoric of COP21 action to address climate change:

Government hail historic climate deal

The New Zealand Government has hailed a historic deal on climate change, saying it is “the first truly global agreement on climate change”.

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser described the agreement as a huge and historic step forward because all countries had agreed to take ambitious action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. …

And the reality? Well what a surprise:

Mining to continue despite climate deal – PM

Mr Key told Morning Report New Zealand’s significant steps on emission reduction would not involve cutting back on the mining of oil, gas and coal.

“New Zealand could, of course, just stop producing oil and gas and coal but realistically if we did that I don’t believe it would stop it being consumed. I think the rest of the world would just fill the very small gap we would leave.” …

So much for “ambitious action”. Instead we get the same useless excuses. But wait, there’s more:

While the aspirational 1.5C target was more aggressive than some had hoped for, Groser did not believe any drastic changes to New Zealand’s energy policy were required as a result.

“Our proposal is aimed at a gradual and progressive grinding down of the level of emissions, like other countries…

“We’re not going to try to get to 1.5 with one hit in our next iteration of climate change policy, so I don’t think actually it changes anything at all in that respect.”

So much for ambitious action. New Zealand’s targets would commit the world to 3 to 4 degrees of warming or more. Obviously committing to a traget of 1.5 degrees doesn’t change “anything at all”. Of course. Back to:

Groser said there was no need to reconsider agriculture’s omission from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as “not a single country in the world” was charging the sector for biological emissions and the Government’s focus was on investing in R&D to improve agricultural emissions.

So much for ambitious action. Our huge agricultural emissions will remain outside the ETS.

Groser said Kiwis would eventually notice the impact of the climate deal when the Government “tightened up” the ETS, leading to higher carbon charges.

“New Zealanders are going to see, eventually, they’ll be paying higher prices through their electricity bills and through their fuel bills for the carbon involved in their purchases.”

However, the Government would take a “more strategic view” with businesses and how they improved their emissions.

So much for ambitious action. Ordinary people will pay more, but businesses get a “more strategic view” – i.e. probably a free pass.

These people are unbelievable. Literally – unbelievable.

55 comments on “Rhetoric and reality: Nats on climate change”

  1. Ad 1

    Agreed. They will continue to benefit (with little justification) from Obama’s spectacular second term multilateral successes.

    They also go into 2016 with huge infrastructure momentum to pump prime the economy above 2%.

    So long as they get good coverage and keep unemployment under 6, and house inflation pumping, the majority forgive them anything.

  2. BM 2

    Taxes don’t go down well with the voting population.

    • Paul 2.1

      So educate them about the consequences of inaction.
      People were happy to pay taxes from the 1930s to the 1970s to build a welfare state and defeat Fascism.

    • Tracey 2.2

      And yet they keep voting for this government which has been raising them by varous means despite promising not to. So, is it just some taxes they don’t like BM, or just ones implemented by anyone who is not National?

      • BM 2.2.1

        The perception is the left love taxes and will try to tax you as much as they can because they know best when it comes to spending other peoples money.

        National on the other hand will tax you but try and tax you as little as possible.

        • Pat 2.2.1.1

          National have no problem at all with taxes and tax increases as they have historically demonstrated….as long as it its not their constituents targeted or there are the required loopholes….only a fool would think otherwise

        • Ad 2.2.1.2

          – fuel tax up
          – all sorts of fees and charges up
          – can’t even get a temp car park in a hospital.

          Quite do-able

        • tracey 2.2.1.3

          So it’s not true that voters don’t like taxes BM. The right just sell theirs better, or in some cases do it quietly without you noticing, like petrol tax increases.

          You no Key said he wouldn’t bring in new taxes or raise taxes aye?

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.4

          Wrong. National will tax the poor as much as they can while not taxing the rich. That’s why they raised GST while lowering the top tax bracket.

        • Nick Morris 2.2.1.5

          Well, if you think the government should do something, you had better elect a party that believes in government action and is therefore much better at it.

          On the other hand, if you would rather the government do nothing (because you personally are doing all right) then vote for inaction. You might even get some taxes back.

          But don’t be surprised if you find yourself up against the wall come the revolution, as they say.

        • Macro 2.2.1.6

          “National on the other hand will tax you but try and tax you as little as possible”

          Like raising GST for instance…

          OR cutting funding to Health thereby forcing people to Private Health Care (How’s your Health Insurance Premiums going these days? Down or Up?)
          Just another tax by another name…

      • Richard McGrath 2.2.2

        I don’t think voters like parties that promise higher taxes. That is understandable.
        However the Nats promise tax relief while pushing taxes higher. That is reprehensible.

    • vto 2.3

      “Taxes don’t go down well with the voting population.”

      Responsibility doesn’t go down well with National voters.

  3. Paaparakauta 3

    .. when did this particular bunch of knuckle-draggers take over our “National” party ?

  4. Tracey 4

    The thing s, that in order to become a developed nation, it seems, you had to rape and pillage the environment to achieve it.

    Having got there, and with money to spend on different innovation/technology, they now (having banked the profits) don’t want to contribute to the developing nations to compensate for them not being able to rape and pillage their way to Developed nation status.

    So we are fucked, and people like BM (above) seem tot hink that if we just shake our heads and say “too hard” that the consequences will not eventuate.

    I see the Mps just got a pay rise.

  5. vto 5

    They will just leave it for their grandchildren to clean up after them.

    Like their farming supporters of the last few generations have left their mess to be cleaned up by this generation.

    They are completely irresponsible.

    Example – check the quality of the rivers that drain the catchment of current Fed Farmers president Rolleston and whanau.

  6. savenz 6

    “These people are unbelievable. Literally – unbelievable.”

    +100

    What else can expect from Double Fossil of the day recipient Key and his alcoholic side kick, Groser!

    [lprent: The latter part of your comment barely falls within the bounds of the decision of Lange vs Atkinson inside defamation law. I’d suggest that you’d better constrain yourself before I decide that you are a threat to this site. ]

    • Richard McGrath 6.1

      Isn’t Groser a Muslim and thus unlikely to be currently drinking alcohol? And like any good Muslim, shouldn’t he be pushing for implementation of Sharia law?

      [lprent: Pays to put a /sarc or otherwise obviously indicate what you doing with a sarcastic comment. Some days I just read what people actually say rather than what they are trying to say when I’m running it against our policies and the laws that constrain us. ]

      • Grant 6.1.1

        Why not ask Groser how he juggles the contradictions inherent between his lifestyle choices and his religion?

  7. Tautoko Mangō Mata 7

    +1 vto
    Shame on this government of hypocrites.

    “Commitment is an act, not a word.” Jean-Paul Satre

  8. Hypocrites indeed. Grosser: “and the Government’s focus was on investing in R&D to improve agricultural emissions.” Yet just a few weeks back AgResearch sacked 83 scientists and technicians that had the expertise in this specific area. Why? To divert investment into food and value-add technologies to improve export opportunities for business [and to save $5m].

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    The only time this government and its cronies Fed Farmers cites global warming as a serious problem is when they want to argue (falsely) that more irrigation of rivers is needed to cope with it.

    Other than that, they are a bunch of climate change deniers.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    New Zealanders are going to see, eventually, they’ll be paying higher prices through their electricity bills and through their fuel bills for the carbon involved in their purchases.”

    Except that we wouldn’t be if we went full renewable.

    These people are unbelievable. Literally – unbelievable.

    Thoroughly believable once you realise that they’re out to protect the way things are.

    • Richard McGrath 10.1

      “Except that we wouldn’t be if we went full renewable.”

      Are you saying electricity generation from solar power, wind power, etc., is cheaper than that from fossil fuels?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1

        Who can tell, with all the corporate welfare distorting the market.

        • Richard McGrath 10.1.1.1

          I agree, publicly funded corporate welfare should be abolished. If a company is going to fail through inability to meet the competition or poor decision making, it should be allowed to go under.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1.1

            Which is why public utilities – like electricity supply, for example – belong in public hands.

  11. Dot 11

    “responsibility for the next generation” and the PM.
    Remember when John Key shouted and pointed across the House to the Opposition,
    ” Have some guts ! ”
    It is a shame that he can not follow his own advice. The picture with this blog sums him up.
    Two Faced.

    • Tracey 11.1

      The parents of these kids in poverty dontvote Nation. Ergo addressing their needs does get ne voters or shore up existing voters.

  12. Troy T 12

    I wish Kathryn Ryan would go to school on climate change policy and stop Hooten’s misleading bloviating on this topic every other Monday. From this Monday, for example:

    -The government has not proposed measures that would “double the costs” of emissions in its ETS review. It has proposed removing the “two for one” obligation on emitters. How this impacts on the emissions price depends on what the cost of emission reductions is in our economy. If there is enough supply of emission reductions at 12 bucks, that’ll be the price.

    -Our ETS does not cover the “entire economy”. It doesn’t cover the almost 50% of our emissions which come from agriculture and it gives a 95% subsidy/exemption to big industries (steel, cement, aluminium, methanol etc). Households and SMEs carry the burden.

    -It is not “the end of the world” if no scientific solutions appear to reduce methane from dairy animals. It just means that other forms of land use and food production will take their place in the economy. Giving farmers a free ride in the ETS just delays a transition to lower emission forms of land use (livestock ag or otherwise).

    -Our climate change policies have been damagingly politicised and have long run impacts on the NZ economy so an RBNZ style independent body is a perfectly valid idea. Hooten conflated environmental and economic effects and tried to claim that because our global emissions impact is small an independent body isn’t useful.

  13. Gavin 13

    I followed a link on TS to an article about Natalia Shakhova, a Russian climate scientist. It’s old news but not widely reported here in NZ, there is a possibility of a 50 Giga tonne methane release from the Ice shelf area off Siberia as the Arctic sea warms.

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/08/arctic-methane-hydrate-catastrophe

    In addition to this, two of the major ocean currents that stabilise our climate have shut down for years at a time since 1976, just not together. That was recorded as a near miss by scientists. More recently, detailed work on ice cores has revealed up to ten degree changes in the local average temperature, over a period of just a decade. The earth’s climate has sometimes (rarely) changed relatively quickly in the past, the timescales are getting pulled back all the time. Some scientists are worried, we should be too.

    Just 3-4 degrees of warming would lead to such a lot of change around the world, that it is assumed global trade would cease. We’d all be on our own.

    I think the take-home from this is that Labour need to very strongly partner up with the Greens for the 2017 election, and tackle the dinosaur National Party head-on.

    Forget minor policy issues for the meantime, we need to take a fresh look at everything we’re doing as a nation. We might not have as much time as we think.

  14. Manuka AOR 14

    Just days after the Climate Change deal signing, the govt received an offer it couldn’t refuse, apparently. “Nine new oil and gas exploration permits have been granted in New Zealand, six of them off the coast of Taranaki.

    “The permits in Block Offer 2015 went to Singapore-based Mont D’Or Resources, Austrian company OMV and New Zealand’s Todd and Petrochem.” (my emph) http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11561979

    • Richard McGrath 14.1

      “Nine new oil and gas exploration permits have been granted in New Zealand, six of them off the coast of Taranaki.”

      Fantastic, might result in cheaper petrol prices and sustainability for NZ in oil production.

  15. I was curious about the Prime Minister’s interview on Monday morning’s Morning Report on Radio New Zealand. The topic was the proposed removal of fossil fuel subsidies to consumers as an approach to cutting carbon intensity (rather than cutting subsidies for exploration for example). The only problem is that the only NZ subsidy identified by MBIE of this kind are the tax rebates to farm vehicles and vessels for diesel and other fuels and even overseas consumer subsidies are a fraction (less than 10%) of the total subsidies to the fossil fuel industry worldwide.

    At 6.5% of world GDP fossil fuel subsidies would , if removed, presumably remove the need for subsidies for renewable energy because they would be competitive.

    More background here http://www.publicgood.org.nz/2015/12/15/having-fun-with-consumer-subsidisation-of-fossil-fuels/

    • Richard McGrath 15.1

      I agree Jan – all subsidies for fossil fuels should be removed, likewise those for alternative energy sources. That would allow an easier calculation of which methods are the most economical. If alternatives such as solar were cheaper, I’d look at purchasing solar panels, etc., myself. To be independent of the electricity companies is a worthy goal.

      • lprent 15.1.1

        Just to follow your logic into hidden subsidies as well.

        All energy sources should carry the full downstream costs of their usage. In the case of fossil fuels as well as nuclear power that would be upfront charges for the foreseeable cleanup from their usage. So should solar, wind, tidal etc – but that is likely to be several orders of magnitude of cost smaller.

        If that happened with what we are certain about with fossil fuels, then we’d see an abrupt increase in their cost you’d have to pay the full cost of the fuel in your car – with the economic shifts in behaviour.

        Thus far the governments who would currently be directly liable for most of the foreseeable downstream costs directly or indirectly haven’t started collecting them from current producers or energy users. Consequently the energy market is heavily distorted.

        I agree with you – it needs to be made less distorted. But all the way rather than some half-arsed attempt to cause the real costs to fall into a tragedy of the commons domain.

        • Richard McGrath 15.1.1.1

          Amazing – we agree completely on that one – a ‘user-pays’ system where each of us compensates those directly affected by our actions. I knew we would eventually find some common ground. Enough for today!

      • Macro 15.1.2

        I’m sure you are aware that “efficient” business’s like to externalise their costs as much as possible. The fossil fuel industries are extraordinary at it. Much of the costs of extraction for instance (ie the clean up the mess, the costs of transport (vis Keystone Pipeline
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline
        and its environmental damage, the cost of spillage vis Nigeria, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_issues_in_the_Niger_Delta
        and then the cost of its eventual usage) are passed on to the donor countries. If the oil, gas, and coal companies were charged for the external costs of their product they would quickly go out of business.

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