- Date published:
9:08 am, October 22nd, 2019 - 18 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, greens, Judith Collins, labour, national, political parties, same old national, science, uncategorized - Tags:
The Government’s Zero Carbon Bill has been reported back and the contrast in responses between Labour/Green and National is fascinating. And National’s response is utterly predictable.
The report is interesting. The majority has proposed technical changes which go some way to addressing concerns raised about the original bill that the Climate Change Commission targets were not enforceable. This has not changed but the amendments will make it less likely that a Government can ignore or avoid a Commission recommendation.
National’s response to the bill is contained in a carefully crafted series of bullet points. Here they are:
“National seeks the following changes to the Zero Carbon Bill:”
It is interesting that National has not gone all climate change denial on it and attacked the methane target. Letting the Commission set the reduction level suggests that National realises that some sort of reduction will have to happen.
The reference to “cherry picking” in relation to food supply is strange. All food good seems to be something of a mantra. We can cherry pick with regards to food supply. Red meat is bad for the environment, vegetables are good. We need to all become more vegetarian.
The suggestion that we should remain in step with the international community in relation to greenhouse gas reduction is a cop out. So we should become fast followers or even slow laggards if that is the international mood? Every tonne of CO2 or methane produced will add to the problem and we should get on with achieving meaningful reductions. We can and should be world leaders. And if New Zealand cannot achieve this then the prospects look bleak.
The bullet point requiring the commission to consider economic impacts fails at the first hurdle. Section 5L of the bill sets out matters that the Commission must consider in performing its functions and duties and exercising its powers under the Act, and these include “the likely economic effects”.
As for consideration of forestry offsets including tree crops, and farm biomass they seem to be a relevant consideration now. Section 5Z says that “[t]he Commission and the Minister must … have particular regard to how the emissions budget and 2050 target may 25 realistically be met, including consideration of … the key opportunities for emissions reductions and removals in New Zealand”.
The final bullet point, that the bill contains greater commitment to investment in innovation and R&D is the sort of talking point that pops out of committees where someone is looking to say something and bignote.
And it ignores that this Government is really keen on research and innovation. Like the recent announcement of investment into research suggesting that the use of seaweed in cow feed may be a game changer.
At least the opposition has not gone all climate change denial on it. Unlike Judith Collins who crafted as fine a piece of denial for facebook as you can imagine.
It caused Rod Oram to summarise National’s position in these terms:
The Government has spent a lot of time trying to persuade National to engage in a constructive, science-based and ambitious way. But at every step, National has taken its do-nothing, know-nothing lead from powerful party members who are desperately clinging to their deeply vested interests in a high emissions economy.
Collins’ Facebook post is filling this blackhole in National’s climate policy. Consequently, National runs the great risk that voters who want action on the climate crisis, including those who are members of its party, will see Collins’ views as the party’s policy on climate. While that might buoy Collin’s ambitions to be party leader, it’s a big political negative for National.
It appears that the Government has NZ First support for the bill and wants to put it in place by the end of the year. Get ready for one hell of a parliamentary debate. Our future will depend on it.