Oram on ETS debacle: Business Council for Sustainable Development ordered to shut up by big emitters; Nick Smith guilty of “breathtaking hypocrisy”

Fonterra and other big emitters have used their clout to silence the Business Council for Sustainable Development from commenting on National’s proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme, Rod Oram reveals in his Sunday Star Times column today.

…on November 5 Barry Harris, Fonterra’s head of milk supply and sustainability, delivered a withering speech to the council’s meeting. There were 31 other representatives of corporate members in attendance. Harris sharply criticised the council for what he considered its failure to represent the interests of members like Fonterra that “had a lot of skin in the game”.

The council’s insight into how opposed much of the public and some of business is to the ETS changes has clearly rattled some of its less sustainable members. According to some attendees, council chairman Bob Field, chairman of Toyota New Zealand, ordered council staff to stop making public statements on the ETS.

Perhaps Fonterra and Toyota believe that business can only be sustainable if it is protected from the costs of its polluting ways. The huge subsidies, of course, are their’s by right. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if some of the less hypocritical members of the BCSD will make their voices heard.

In a coruscating column, Oram calls Nick Smith’s headlong rush in to bad legislation “breathtaking hypocrisy”, and quotes extensively from Smith’s comments a year ago when Labour’s ETS was being debated in Parliament.

Oram’s take on the current situation is right on the money:

National is making a dreadful mistake if it believes it can railroad through incompetent, damaging legislation hugely favouring heavy emitters.

At the next election, it will be easy for Labour and Greens to win support from the substantial number of voters who want an ETS that might actually cut emissions. Such an ETS would save the next government some $2 billion a year in subsidies to the heavy emitters, money voters would like spent instead on them and investment in new, clean technologies.

The whole column is worth a read. It’s Oram at his well-informed, combative best.

19 thoughts on “Oram on ETS debacle: Business Council for Sustainable Development ordered to shut up by big emitters; Nick Smith guilty of “breathtaking hypocrisy””

  1. This action by those with huge vested interests in not surprising – in fact what would be surprising is had they not tried to bully those who can see the obvious imperfections and inequalities from speaking out! It’s the normal patten of behaviour by the very rich, and those who serve them, who believe that the whole world belongs to them.
    I’ve mentioned it on another thread but Bryan Gould’s book “The Democracy Sham” is well worth the read. We are no longer in a democracy but a “corporatocracy” where multinationals pull the economic strings for the benefit of the themselves.
    National are heavily committed to appeasing these interests – how the Maori Party can go along with this blatant prostitution of principles belies comprehension! Act will eventually swing into line because the neo-liberal agenda will override any denialism of Global Warming.

  2. An obvious conclusion is that the Maori Party itself is controlled by iwi corporate vested interest.
    One could argue that those who speak for poorer Maori, such as Hone Harawira, are being selectively leaked against and purged.

  3. “At the next election, it will be easy for Labour and Greens to win…”

    OK, at this point we could conclude that Oram is in deep delusion, but let’s read on.

    “… support from the substantial number of voters who want an ETS…”

    Yup, total delusion. Isn’t he aware that polls the world over show “apocalypse fatigue”. Catastrophism reached its high-water mark in 2007, and now there is no way to “hide the decline”.

    1. Nobody should have to “subsidise” anyone. Carbon dioxide is no more a pollutant than water vapour. How can you still believe this when the most “distinguished” scintists believe:

      ”we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment”. (Wigley)
      “we can not account for what is happening in the climate system … It is a travesty! (Trenberth)
      That the appropriate responses to anyone who disagrees is ” get him ousted.” (Mann)

      The appropriate response to this non-problem is to dump the ETS, not to replace the Labour Socialist dog’s breakfast with the National Socialist one.

  4. Act will support the ETS Amendment Bill
    As predicted!
    The greedies have their noses firmly in the trough – and to heck with the rest of you and the Earth.
    Things will not change until we have a complete reversal of this monetary neo-liberal economic policy whereby we must tug our forelocks to all international investors whose only interest in this country is how much money they can squeeze out of us.
    Sorry to bring political statements in here – but unfortunately these decisions are strictly political, and the politics is getting in the way of any doing ANYTHING meaningful towards addressing the problem.

  5. The context if anything reinforces the theme of data manipulation, intimidation of critics, and their own crisises of faith. If imminent human -induced climate catastrophe was indeed what the data proved, none of this would be necessary.

  6. Don’t be naive, Steve, the fossil fuels industry has trillions of dollars worth of profits and infrastructure to protect, and the political power that goes with it.

    If they can arrange for the US to invade Iraq, they can easily create and fund a substantial astroturf operation to protect their revenue, and have been doing so since the 70s

    “Unfortunately, a well-funded and highly organized public relations campaign is poisoning the climate change debate. Using tricks and stunts that unsavory PR firms invented for the tobacco lobby, energy-industry contrarians are trying to confuse the public, to forestall individual and political actions that might cut into exorbitant coal, oil and gas industry profits”

  7. “If imminent human -induced climate catastrophe was indeed what the data proved…..”
    What planet are you on Steve? Every day more and more data pours in to the ocean of knowledge confirming the fact that we are rapidly stuffing up the Earth and you sit shaking your head that its all not true!
    How about this?
    And this
    “Sea ice extent grew throughout October, as the temperature dropped and darkness returned to the Arctic. However, a period of relatively slow ice growth early in the month kept the average ice extent low—October 2009 had the second-lowest ice extent for the month over the 1979 to 2009 period.”
    and I could go on – but what would be the point – you would write it all off as a mere nothing!
    Its about time you had a crisis of faith in your own opinion. Such resolute denial is not good for your well being!

    1. I sense a bit of hypocrisy here. East Antarctic shrinking since 2006 is cause for concern but temperatures falling since 2001 is not long enough for a trend?

      Seems like more evidence that when the Arctic is growing the Antarctic is melting and vice versa (the Arctic has been growing over the same time frame).

      1. R2D2 – Several points here.
        1/ AGW models predict arctic amplification, and not much happening at all in Antartica. Do you want papers on why? First off realise that you comparing sea-ice with ice shelves. Very different processes. Second Antarctica (with exception of peninsula) is isolated both in ocean circulation and atmospheric circulation. Finally note that Antarctica temperatures have cold driver from ozone depletion.
        2/ Glaciers and ice shelves are long term integrators of weather so better indicators of climate than seasonal ice. The loss of ice from the ice shelves is not something that can be made up in a hurry.
        3/ The detail on Antartica from extended GRACE 2009 is just up at NatureGeo so unless you have access you will have to take my word for it. However, it shows EAIS losing mostly round the edges as you expect. Gaining in centre as the models predict. WAIS losing big time. Note again – ice shelf not sea ice. Time series data is presented from 2001 from several locations.
        4/ The same experiments are showing even higher loss from Greenland ice shelf, again especially at edge. Net ice loss is large.

        Seaice makes news but the worries for sealevel of course are from these ice shelves. Net ice loss/gain from these is MUCH harder to measure so you dont get the long time series. There is however long term (retreating) data for many individual glaciers at both ends of globe. You need experiments like GRACE though to be really sure of the net loss. With losses at both end of planet, I doubt you can come up with some kind seasaw effect. This is second time I have seen you postulating that we have regional warming rather than global warming. Where on earth do get this idea?

  8. Back on topic…
    It amazes me how mis-guided Tesco’s are with their continued support and development of sustainability and carbon reduction programmes; given their own huge sustainability and carbon footprints.
    Apparently one in seven pound spent in the UK is with Tesco’s. You’d think with that amount of skin in the game they’d have the clout to shut peolpe up.

  9. Oh, and on “Arctic growing” – instead of sea ice extent, try looking at multiyear ice thickness. (ie the VOLUME of ice). Growing my foot, especially when you add in Greenland ice loss.

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