According to Carbon News (also at Scoop), the extension of the deadline for submissions to the ETS Review committee last week came at the request of major emitters who feared that committee chair Peter Dunne’s refusal to listen to arguments about climate science would mean their views would be ignored.
Sources say that the Greenhouse Policy Coalition â€“ whose members include New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, New Zealand Steel, Fonterra, the Coal Association, Carter Holt Harvey, Norske Skog Tasman, Winstone Pulp, Pan Pacific Forest Products, SCA Hygiene, Business New Zealand, Solid Energy and Methanex â€“ realised that it was in danger of not being heard because its submission failed to meet Dunneâ€™s criteria.
The organisation asked for more time to come up with an acceptable submission, and it is understood that several members of the coalition then also asked for extensions. (Business New Zealand chief executive Phil Oâ€™Reilly has confirmed to Carbon News that his organisation asked for more time).
The clear inference is that the GPC and its members had prepared submissions that included attempts to call the basic science of global warming into doubt — or would at the very least fall foul of Dunne’s insistence that he would not hear arguments from “groups wanting to re-litigate the science of climate change”. Some of New Zealand’s largest corporates were prepared to stand up in front of the review committee and argue — what? That the world’s cooling? That the risks are overstated? That CO2 is not a greenhouse gas? The intellectual dishonesty of a group apparently prepared to line up with the cranks and argue black is white in order to defend its narrow economic interests beggars belief.
Meanwhile, lest the Greenhouse Policy Coalition forget the reason why emissions reductions are important and urgent, a prominent climate scientist not called Hansen has warned that climate change is proceeding faster than projected in the IPCC’s Fourth Report [BBC, Reuters]. Chris Field, a professor of biology and of earth system science at Stanford, and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference last week that recent studies showed that:
…in a business-as-usual world, higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and melt the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gas that could raise global temperatures even moreâ€”a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control by the end of the century.
Field also considers that aggressive action to reduce emissions brings multiple benefits:
“What have we learned since the fourth assessment? We now know that, without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought. If you look at the set of things that we can do as a society, taking aggressive action on climate seems like one that has the best possibility of a win-win. It can stimulate the economy, allow us to address critical environmental problems, and insure that we leave a sustainable world for our children and grandchildren. Somehow we have to find a way to kick the process into high gear. We really have very little time.”
That should be required reading for the CEOs of the companies that fund the Greenhouse Policy Coalition. Unless, of course, they define their economic interests as more important than the survival of our civilisation.