Home thoughts from abroad

BBC.gif Aunty Beeb has taken a look at New Zealand’s carbon ambitions. A report headlined “Attempting to ‘kick the carbon habit” gives a pretty good overview of the special problems – and advantages – that NZ has. There’s a decent plug for Grove Mill wines and their carbon zero status, plenty of room for the PM to tout her carbon ambitions, and a chance for the Greens to point out how our imported cheap cars pose a problem for transport emissions. It also gives National’s Nick Smith a chance to act all pessimistic about the prospects for agricultural emission reductions.

“The truth is that we are only just starting to nail the science of how to measure the amount of methane and nitrous oxide from agricultural production. I think it is a matter of decades rather than years before there’ll be the sort of breakthroughs that enable us to bring those emissions down.”

Decades? Has Dr Smith never heard of nitrification inhibitors, or about breakthrough research on methanogens? Or – perish the thought – land use change to low emissions crops? If he has his hands on National’s carbon policy, then I am extremely concerned about what might happen after the election if National form the core of the next government.

Luckily, there’s not one word in the BBC story about the ETS and its difficulties. That was a narrow escape. If the world gets to hear that emissions trading scheme is in trouble and that our low carbon talk is just hot air, then all our image building will be wasted. Nick Smith would do well to reflect on that.

12 thoughts on “Home thoughts from abroad”

  1. Hi all

    And all this when GisTemp shows 0 warming trend over the past 7 years.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt

    Sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    Low carbon is all talk with Labour anyway, our record is not great under Comrad Helen’s leadership.

    Anyway, with petrol at $2.07/l this is taking people off the roads in Auckland, it is a lot quicker to drive to work in my petrol supplied company car. At $2.50/l this should make my journey even quicker. In reality market forces isa working in reducing the carbon output.

    Power cuts will also reduce our carbon footprint as well. We will be corralled into lowering our carbon footprint by becoming a 3rd world country. This will make the Greens happy.

    BTW, the BBC is just an altar for the GW religion. Their stories are not exactly un biased are they.

    Regards
    Peter Bickle

  2. Certainly, the ETS is not perfect. But it’s very far from a “balls up”. If we go into the election without an ETS, do you really think a National government are going to move swiftly to put one in place – or legislate for a carbon charge/tax?

    What people are missing here is our extraordinary vulnerability to what other people think of us. We’re small. No-one owes us a living. Give our competitors the chance to paint us as anything less than clean, green and low carbon, and they’ll take it. And reputations don’t take long to tarnish…

  3. If the world gets to hear that emissions trading scheme is in trouble and that our low carbon talk is just hot air, then all our image building will be wasted.

    Maybe we should tell the world about it. It would at least force the government to act.

  4. Oh, I think our competitors (specifically Fonterra’s competitors) won’t be slow to take advantage. That’s why Fonterra’s active in the Sustainable Food Marketing Group (aka food miles forum) with government. But it also feels it necessary to be part of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, arguing for delays and inaction. Corporate schizophrenia?

  5. I’m with you, Savant – our “clean green” image is a Big Fat Lie and New Zealanders at home have been sucked in by it as much as the rest of the world.

    We are used to using as much energy has we want; we are used to driving everywhere and ignoring public transport, etc etc. Our lakes are dying; our rivers are full of crap and – until the ETS comes in – we have no climate policies to speak of. But it’s ok: we’re clean and green. Beautiful does not equal clean.

    I think it’s about time the world found out about the Emporer having no clothes – New Zealand’s international greenwash.

    And perhaps it would be a good thing if our international competitors start questioning our green credentials – it might make big business here push FOR Govt action rather than lobbying against it at every turn.

  6. i agree – the food mile thing is distorted, kicked off by UK farmers, and wrong.

    However, we can shout that as loud as we like, but what worries me is the next bit which seems to be the thinking here: “therefore we don’t have to cut emissions or pay a price on carbon.”

    If we are not paying a price on carbon, our exports could suffer. But if our goods are not producing as much carbon as elsewhere, which we say they’re not, then we ought to be well positioned.

  7. The Lincoln work on food miles is pretty robust (Google it on HT – there’s a link to the report in the post I did), but a major part of our low carbon footprint is because of the high proportion of renewables in our power generation. That should get better if current policy is effective, but it’s not a given. It’s not straightforward for all crops though. Some have natural offsets built-in (think fruit trees growing and fixing carbon), others can be stymied by the energy used in storage. So – not simple – but can, and should, be done. At the very least, a good analysis can show where to make carbon savings…

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