If ever there were a sentence that summed up our collective folly it’s “Scientific opinion is that a reduction of 40 per cent is needed to prevent serious global warming but few countries are expected set that as a target.”
That’s from the NZPA article on the Key Government’s newly announced climate change target. 10-20% below 1990 levels. The hihger limit is conditional on the new international treaty being favourable for forestry (ie easy for us to achieve). So, half of what is needed if we get offered a good deal. Quarter otherwise. Imagine if a government decided that the Police would have to get by with quarter or half of the officers they need.
‘But other countries aren’t making big enough reductions either!’ – Great. We can all be fools together.
‘But we’re starting from too high 22% higher than 1990 levels, we can’t get down to -40% in time’ – That’s gross emissions. Our current net emissions are the same as 1990, despite 69% economic growth.
‘There’s nothing we can do’ – Bollocks. Plant some forests, replace our dirtiest power plants, more public transport, smarter agriculture, building, and appliances using existing techniques, and we’re there.
‘But it will cost too much’ – Not as much as not doing enough. What’s that called? Oh yeah, cost/benefit analysis.
In reality, this is a weak target because it is in the short-term interests of capital to stick its head in the sand and pretend climate change isn’t happening. Everything else is just an excuse. Short term profits for corporates and farmers come before the long term health of our economies, our societies, our environment.
As so often, No Right Turn sums it up incomparably: “we’re demanding the world make an agreement that limits temperature change to less than 2 degrees, while refusing to do anything to actualy make that happen, and we’re demanding that developing countries, who are not responsible for the problem, bear the burden of fixing it. We’re doing less than Europe, and (more importantly) less than Australia. In short, our government has given up. Pricks.”