IPCC WG3 SPM headline: we can afford it

The Working Group 3 Summary For Policymakers is easily the least readable of the three SPMs released this year:

“In 2030 macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation, consistent with emissions trajectories towards stabilisation between 445 and 710ppm CO2-eq, are estimated at between a 3% decrease of global GDP and a small increase, compared to the baseline. However, regional costs may differ significantly from global averages (high agreement, medium evidence).

National sets climate goal: 50 in 50

As outlined by Colin James last week, John Key has announced that National will now support Kyoto, and legislate to achieve a 50 percent cut in emissions by 2050. Speaking at National’s Northern Regional Conference in Whangarei, Key said:

“I will set the achievable emission reduction target for New Zealand. Here it is: A 50 percent reduction in carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. In shorthand: A 50 percent cut by 2050. 50 by 50. If I am Prime Minister of New Zealand I will write this target into law.

A popgun broadside

Dick Hubbard and Bob Harvey, mayors of Auckland and Waitakere City, recently popped over the Tasman to attend a conference on climate change in Melbourne. Invigorated by the event, they issued a press release – Climate Change –€“ The Monster In The Living Room. Hubbard was particularly forthright:

Carbon pricing is imminent, like it or not, and once there is a price on carbon the need for all of us to move quickly and effectively will sharply increase. We must be prepared. Not only must we measure our own emissions as councils but also know what each sector emits. Then we can act collaboratively on reduction.

Rear Admiral Jack Welch, chairman of the NZ €œClimate Science Coalition, took exception, and issued his own press release:

€œThe Auckland and Waitakere mayors have fallen into the carbon trap laid by the likes of the Green Party and Greenpeace, in adding their voices to the unproven myth that emissions of carbon dioxide will threaten the survival of the planet

Unproven myth?

The really monstrous reality is that leaders such as the two mayors are rushing to get on a global warming bandwagon for which there is no valid verifiable scientific proof. The first thing they should check is New Zealand’s official temperature and sea level records, where they will find that the country has been cooling since the El Nino of 1998, and the levels of the Waitemata Harbour have remained about the same for the past 100 years.

No valid scientific proof?

The Rear Admiral is, of course, correct on all counts. The survival of the planet is not threatened by puny humans and their emissions of carbon dioxide. The surface will get a little warmer, enough to cause problems for their civilisation, but the Earth itself will carry on in its orbit until the sun turns into a red giant in about 5 billion years time and swallows it whole.

Nor is there any “valid verifiable scientific proof” of the existence of a global warming bandwagon. There’s plenty of evidence for global warming, and what’s causing it, but no-one has found a wagon with a band playing – what, The Sun Has Got His Hat On? As for New Zealand temperatures and the sea level measured in Waitemata Harbour, these are well-known proxies for the global average, not just a couple of figures from a small corner of the South Pacific without much influence on the numbers for the whole world.

Bob and Dick, I hope you are feeling suitably chastised. The rest of us can sleep easy in our beds, secure in the knowledge that a fine old sea-dog is steering the ship of state towards…

Oh, bugger.

NZ emissions scheme to include all sectors and all gases

The government has announced that it will make up its mind on a domestic emissions trading scheme by September. Quoted in the Herald, climate change minister David Parker said:

“We are looking for a design that will be economy-wide, and include all sectors, and all gases.

Fact checking Finlay

Finlay MacDonald, former editor of the New Zealand Listener, uses his Sunday Star Times column to cast a few stones at carbon trading. He’s sceptical about business “going green