Written By: - Date published: 6:21 pm, May 26th, 2016 - 86 comments
Categories: budget 2016, climate change, crime, Economy, education, energy, Environment, global warming, health, housing, infrastructure, jobs, Politics, quality of life, science, sustainability, tax, transport, useless, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: AGW, budget 2016, climate change, economy, government, health, housing, stupidity
All budgets, whether actually implemented by Government, or those of Opposition Parties highlighting their priorities and strategies, are contingent upon the only budget that really matters these days.
Oddly enough, from all I’ve read, our leaders and would be leaders, have been assiduously ignoring the one thing that will absolutely shape the outcomes of any budget related policies they want to pursue.
If we are to have health or education policies that will benefit us; if we are to have investment policies around infrastructure that will benefit us; if we are to have tax policies that will benefit us – then the singular budget that all other budgets must take into account is the global carbon budget. If that budget is ignored, then all of the health or education and investment policies that any government throws onto the table are more than likely going to fail. And not just fail as in ‘fall short’, but fail hugely and with disastrous consequences for all of us.
As of 2011, the carbon budget for the entire remainder of the 21C was 1000Gt. I did a post on that here. Go and read it. Bear in mind that energy related emissions probably amount to something north of 200Gt now. Click back to here after working through the simple arithmetic (it’ll take seconds) and explain, with an eye to some semblance of sanity, the rationale behind any of the alternative or actual budgets we’ve just been subjected to over the past few days.
Short historical context
Whereas politicians and policy makers got together and agreed that 2 degrees warming could serve as a ‘line in the sand’ between “acceptable” levels of warming and “dangerous” levels of warming, an increasing number of voices within the scientific community are saying that 2 degrees is likely to usher in “extremely dangerous’’ levels of warming.
So if the world wants to avoid “dangerous” levels of warming, then according to growing numbers of scientists who are basing their analyses on the scientific data, our current available budget for CO2 emissions from human activity, isn’t or wasn’t 1000Gt over the course of this century, it’s precisely zero.
And yet, here we are with both government and opposition in NZ playing ‘pretend and extend’ for a way of life that is absolutely going to crash and burn – I can’t see any two ways about that – and when it does, it’s going to come with not insignificant consequences for you and for me or (if we’re very lucky) just for younger generations alive in New Zealand today.
Any government budget should have been proposing serious and far reaching policies to get us down off carbon as quickly as possible. Any government budget should have been proposing policies that would ensure our infrastructure was ‘fit for purpose’ and able to survive the likely climatic conditions of the coming decades. Any government budget should have been putting us – all of us – on notice and on a war footing.
‘Criminal negligence’ is a term I’d use in describing the approach of this current crop of politicians we have, if that term came anywhere near close to capturing the magnitude of their stupidity. It doesn’t. And I don’t have a suitable term in my vocabulary.