Somewhat suspicious

Written By: - Date published: 4:36 pm, December 17th, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: climate change, national/act government - Tags: , ,

Gerry ‘sexy coal’ Brownlee has spent today ripping apart more anti-climate change laws. Today, under urgency and without the opportunity for the public to contribute via the select committee process, National/ACT has repealed the Biofuels requirement and is now in the process of repealing the ‘ban’ on new baseload fossil fuel power plants.

Disturbingly National/ACT’s ministers just don’t seem to understand what they are doing. Nick Smith nodded his head when Jeanette Fitzsimons said ‘greenhouse emissions grew under National and grew faster under Labour’ but started yelling when she added ‘because growth was faster under Labour’. It’s like Smith doesn’t understand that, unless there is investment in research and legislation adding a cost to carbon, then greenhouse emissions are tied to growth.

Gerry Brownlee didn’t seem to understand that the fossil fuel power plant ban has exemptions for security of supply and replacing existing generators with better ones, if he did he wouldn’t have given those reasons for repealing the ban. Incredibly, he argued that a price on carbon will mean there is no need for a ban on thermal plants because they will be priced out of the market, even though National/ACT are having a select committee to see whether climate change is even real and a price on carbon is needed. Fitzsimons also showed he had no idea about the dynamics of the oil and biofuel markets. She showed that there were plans, now cancelled, for plants to produce enough biofuel from sustainable in New Zealand, so Brownlee’s scaremongering about imported, unsustainable biofuel was unfounded.

The really weird thing is that you keep on hearing National MPs running the line that nothing will change from repealing these laws. They seem to think the biofuels market will do just fine without the boost from a requirement that low percentages of biofuels be included in petrol and diesel, despite biofuels plants already being cancelled because of the removal of that requirement. They seem to think that there will be no new thermal plants without the ban, despite the ban already resulting in power companies already dropping plans for thermal plants near Auckland. They seem to think they haven’t just cost hundreds of millions to the carbon market by throwing the future of the emissions trading scheme into doubt.

The fact is, for all their talk of a commitment to climate change, National has voted against every piece of legislation to tackle this the greatest threat to our future. And, now they are in government, they are repealing those laws. We no longer have a government programme for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The only thing that is going to save us from from a blowout in emissions under National/ACT years is the contracting economy. Cold comfort.

21 comments on “Somewhat suspicious”

  1. insider 1

    IrishBill: Sorry Insider – I deleted your comment as I thought it was made by infused (who has been banned). My sincere apologies, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I’ll see if Lynn can retrieve your comment.

    [lprent: I’m afraid not. Sorry insider]

  2. insider 2

    Bother. ANd it was so brilliant too! 🙂 Where’s that caching problem when you need it?

  3. Quoth the Raven 3

    If they think nothing is going to change why are they changing the laws?
    Slippery Slippery.

  4. Patently clear is a new government who wish to be known in this year of their lore by what they DO.

    And thereafter by what they DO NOT DO.

    Either (or both) ways their doings shall damn them.

    Perhaps next year we can recognise the world for what it is. Change versus unchange. The former yet to come, the latter already overdone.,

  5. A point on the relatively new terminology of emissions intensity. It serves definition on the direct relationship between energy and output(per GDP). In this way – I think it was the GWBush administration – which first coined the term into international parlance – the ambition or goal of economic growth may be seen to over-ride that of the planet and our environment.

    What is does not do, and cannot do, is admit to the starting status, as it were. For example, what if the world is already overgrown economically? Inference from the scientific evidence would suggest that this is already the case. Folks in pursuit of growth persé would thus ‘deny and/or disbelieve’ such evidence. And they rightly in my view belong to those I refer to as me-firsters, to hell with the rest!

    Yet the science will not accomodate wishes and wishful thinkers. When the claim is that it does we know it is not science. Oddly enough much of the economic attainments of modern mankind have come from positive growth-enhancing science and technology, but when science suggests constraint and effect alternative energy mankind’s errant doubters emerge. Though and such is local national politics, they seldom admit to this ailing.

    Or failing.

  6. MelloC 6

    Another part of this whole affair was the fact that they’re reversing on the phasing out of incandescent lightbulbs, one of the more obvious and easily-adopted climate charge policies. I was at a Nat rally where Key made this part of his speech–you should have heard the smug fucks cheer. Yaay! We can needlessly waste electricity! What reasoning could they possibly have for this, other than irrational anti-environmentalism?

  7. dan 7

    On the very day that Brownlee removed Nanny state lightbulbs, the National Party expressed interest in making cameras mandatory in taxis!! Nanny state, National style! Jeanette Fitzsimmons was brilliant yesterday talking through the bulb issue on National radio. Could someone load the clip please.

  8. Tane 8

    When was it Dan?

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Did David Garrett of ACT vote against the government on this bill?

    I can’t find a reference to this in the news reports online, but I thought I heard him say he would, on the radio. The numbers (62-59) suggest that National/ACT are missing a vote.

  10. deemac 10

    I gather he said he disagreed but voted for it anyway…
    so brave

  11. outofbed 11

    Changes ‘amplify Arctic warming’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7786910.stm

    Rome Burns

  12. outofbed 12

    should be Nome burns i suppose

  13. RedLogix 13

    So .. how many Nat MP’s does it take to NOT change a light bulb?

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Another part of this whole affair was the fact that they’re reversing on the phasing out of incandescent lightbulbs, one of the more obvious and easily-adopted climate charge policies. I was at a Nat rally where Key made this part of his speechyou should have heard the smug fucks cheer. Yaay! We can needlessly waste electricity! What reasoning could they possibly have for this, other than irrational anti-environmentalism?

    The perfect free-market can only work as economists say it works if everyone has perfect information. Given perfect information everyone would actually make a rational decision. In the case of the light bulbs everyone would stop using incandescent ones because they cost more. Economists are also quick to point out why their theories don’t work is because the market isn’t perfect. This means that we actually need regulations such as these to simulate the effect of everyone having perfect information.

  15. Gareth 15

    “Incredibly, he argued that a price on carbon will mean there is no need for a ban on thermal plants because they will be priced out of the market”
    He’s right there of course, but in that case why is he not putting this and the lightbulb legislation in with the ETS? The point of an ETS or carbon tax is to discourage this activity, but because we were taking so f’in long to get there both those measures were, and still are, entirely valid.

    Of course if they go down the $5 carbon tax their lobby friends want then those activities won’t be priced out of the market, will they. I really hope someone like an Idiot Savant calculates the increased cost to coal-generation from any eventual National ETS and ensures that it is high enough as to correspond to Mr Brownlee’s assertion that coal will no longer be in the market. I have my doubts.

  16. randal 16

    someone has to pay for the pies

  17. dan 17

    Tane,
    Re Jeanette Fitzsimmons
    The days are a blur! I think it was Radio New Zealand; I was driving a rental vehicle north from Christchurch with one of those automatic scanners that finds radio stations that are in range.
    So I am picking radio NZ network rather than National programme.
    Cheers
    Dan

  18. RedLogix 18

    Did David Garrett of ACT vote against the government on this bill?

    Yes. It was reported on RNZ yesterday. Interestingly he was quoted as saying something along the lines “having listened to the Opposition debate this today I have come to the realisation that they are correct”.

    The first time I can recall an MP acknowledging that the actual process of debate in the House has led them to change their thinking on a topic. Interesting to see what consequences arise from this flash of independence by Mr Garrett.

  19. gareth,

    I wonder whether Mr. Brownlee is aware of recent australian developments..?..

    Here’s a clip:

    [PG’s colleague] Robert Gottliebsen explains in his commentary piece “Power at any price’, these chickens are about to come home and roost, and bring with them multi-billion dollar losses, despite Rudd’s tax-payer funded “compensation for corporate stupidity’ program. Bob estimates that the banks are on the hook for around $5 billion for just four Latrobe Valley stations.

    Then again, and quite possibly for BBQ talking heads over the festive break, how might kiwi pols ‘payoff’ their aussie backers at the expense of australian energy consumers (price hikes would be the banking boys’ payback, you reckon)

  20. sweeetdisorder 20

    Draco T Bastard

    “Economists are also quick to point out why their theories don’t work is because the market isn’t perfect. This means that we actually need regulations such as these to simulate the effect of everyone having perfect information”

    What an arrogant prick you are; people are wrong, they won’t make the ‘correct’ decision therefore I must compel (enforce, dictate, make laws to require) them to make the ‘correct’ decision. Who made you boss of the world?

  21. tracey 21

    Not to worry, over at kiwiblog they have accepted that the now acceptable yardstick of conduct is the previous labour governments, which, until recently, they abhored.

    Michael Cullen is used as an example to justify actions taken by Nat/ACT under urgency. It didnt take long, less than a month in Parliament for those who railed against Labour’s “behaviour” to now be quoting it in defence of national’s.

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