Envirologue: The Least We Can Do – New Zealand’s Cringeworthy Climate Target
I think we need to understand that this target, just like its predecessors, is a complete fiction. Groser and National have no intention of ever adopting any measure that will make NZ's greenhouse gases deviate from continued 'business as usual' growth.
Note that the Ministry for the Environment website says;
"New Zealand will meet these responsibility targets through a mix of domestic emission reductions, the removal of carbon dioxide by forests and participation in international carbon markets."
Brian Fallow says the MFE's (dodgy) economic modelling assumes 80% of the "reduction" will be "met" by buying international carbon units.
From May of this year NZ has no access to international carbon markets due to NZ's inept posturing at Doha about not signing up for a second Kyoto committment period. When NZ did have access, traders imported millions of "hot air" units at prices as low as eleven cents a tonne. Obviously Groser wants more access to dodgy cheap emission units.
For the other 20%, they can then just repeat the Kyoto Gross-Net forest accounting fudge of saying the baseline is 'gross' or total emissions and that the target will be 'net' including credits for afforestation and reforestation. There we have it! Zero domestic reductions in emissions.
Note also the very conditional language in the INDC sent to the UNFCCC and in Groser's press release.
The target is provisional and conditional on 1) access to carbon markets, 2) land use and forest rules NZ agrees with (presumably to keep the Kyoto Gross Net fudge), and 3) effective and affordable mitigation technology for agriculture.
On that basis, NZ might start to reduce domestic emissions but only if the rest of the world at the UNFCCC Paris December 2015 meeting bends over backwards to meet Tim Groser's unattainable provisos.
Whatever approach Paris 2015 takes and whether it "succeeds" or not, the rules of whatever agreement, if there is one, will probably take several more years to thrash out. All of which enables NZ to claim the conditions haven't been met, so no reductions. Even if some perfect rules appear, NZ can say "Sorry our little-battling-punching-above-its-weight Agricultural Research Centre still hasn't given us affordable mitigation for pastoral agriculture.
This is really is a "heads we win, tails the atmosphere loses" approach.
Gross-Net accounting isn't going to help NZ this time, because the existing Kyoto-compliant forests will probably be a net source by 2030 (and possibly a very large one). So unlike the 2020 target, we'll find it hard to sleep-walk our way anywhere close to meeting this one, as derisively tiny as it may be. Unless the government is planning to expose agriculture to the ETS (unlikely) or impose draconian regulations on forest management (would surprise no-one in the forest industry), it really does all seem to come down to a massive gamble on the magic methane pill and the future price of carbon credits.
Yup, it's embarrassing. Do they still use "clean and green" on tourism promotions?
Greenpeace activists protest on our research ship Tangaroa.
They claim that the taxpayer funded $24million refit was to enable the Tangaroa to look for oil and gas deposits in New Zealand waters.
If this is correct....
Key will go to Paris and say, "Hey, this is what we're doing about global warming!".
So proud to be a Kiwi right now.
Ian Dalziel, in reply to
Do they still use “clean and green” on tourism promotions?
I think the modern iteration would have to be 'glean and screen'...
It should be 'pretty good & not bad'
Changing Climate (BBC Radio 4)
In this three part series Roger Harrabin examines the science, politics and solutions of climate.
Interview transcripts are available from the Open University website.
Links to each episode
(Like most BBC radio science content, these should be available to stream indefinitely; but there doesn't seem to be a downloadable podcast for this series.)
Episode 1: The Science (2015/11/16)
Episode 2: The Solutions (2015/11/23)
Episode 3: The Politics (2015/11/30)
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