There is a disturbingly large chance that our civilisation is beyond the point of no return and a combination of western excess, inbuilt third world development momentum and the release of methane from the tundra not to mention the accelerating loss of ice sheets and glaciers mean that we may already have stuffed the planet.
So what do we do?
Do we give up? Buy that V8 and burn baby burn because it no longer matters? Or do we think that this is the world our kids and grandkids are going to have to live in and maybe we should try not to trash it and we should do whatever it takes?
And then there is the localised version of the debate. New Zealand is too small, we cannot make a difference. And if we produce less greenhouse gasses here then someone somewhere else will produce more.
So what do we do? Laugh and make jokes and say that those amongst us who actually want to keep trying are deluded? Side with that strange group who think that pretty well all of the world’s climate scientists are wrong and it is a big conspiracy on the part of the UN to exert world domination?
Or should we do something because dang if we don’t we are a few generations away from a Max Max type armageddon?
The Government’s Zero Carbon Bill is out for submissions and the submission period closes on July 16. The Government’s description is that:
The bill would set greenhouse gas reduction targets into law and require that future governments continue these efforts into the future. It also seeks to:
- Set up the Climate Change Commission, an independent body that will advise and support the government to reach the targets
- Create a requirement that the government sets emission budgets every five years that will act as ‘stepping stones’ towards the ultimate goal of zero greenhouse gases by 2050
- Create a requirement that the government understands the risk of climate change (for example, rising sea levels) and produces plans to address these.
There has been some criticism by Greenpeace and others because the targets are not legally binding. If you think they should then say so. Tell the Government that it should not have any wriggle room but has to, no matter what, meet the targets. To be frank I think this could be too difficult but by all means make it tough.
The process is important but the targets are the difference between wining or losing.
The targets are:
(1) The target for emissions reduction (the 2050 target) requires that—
(a) net emissions of greenhouse gases in a calendar year, other than biogenic methane, are zero by the calendar year beginning on 1 January 2050 and for each subsequent calendar year; and
(b) gross emissions of biogenic methane in a calendar year—
(i) are 10% less than 2017 emissions by the calendar year beginning on 1 January 2030; and
(ii) are at least 24% to 47% less than 2017 emissions by the calendar year beginning on 1 January 2050 and for each subsequent calendar year.
(2) In this section, 2017 emissions means the gross emissions of biogenic methane for the calendar year beginning on 1 January 2017.
These targets give us a fighting chance. As long as the rest of the world also do their bit.
Of course the right believe that we should be fast (or is that slow?) followers rather at the forefront of efforts to address climate change.
But emissions are continuing to grow and if we do not get back to carbon neutrality then this great big beautiful world is going to be damaged.
And the farming lobby will be fighting tooth and nail to have the methane emission target made as small as possible. To them it is an affront that business as usual is being threatened even though business as usual is killing the planet.
And I appreciate that methane is short lived in the atmosphere and cannot be sequestered. But this means that reduction of methane levels will have the strongest beneficial effect.
So make a submission. If you want say that the Government should be legally bound by the targets say so. If you think that the methane targets should be made more stringent then tell the Government this. If you think that we need to become carbon neutral much quicker then demand this.
Make a submission. Our civilisation’s future may depend on it.
Finally a video to emphasise the importance of the issue: