Labour’s dodgy drilling policy avoids climate reality

In his interview on TV3’s The Nation last weekend David Shearer declared a Labour Party policy on oil and gas drilling which, like the Government’s, fails to confront the reality of climate change. Drilling will continue. The approval processes will be improved, the regulations will be tight, the money gained will be used well, but drilling will continue. He acknowledged that “at the end of the day” fossil fuels are out. They cannot continue to be our future. But we can use them to transition to renewables. They can remain a strand in our development. ”There’s a potential there and while there’s a potential we should be looking at it.”

Transition is a word which acquires a convenient elasticity in the language of those who argue for the continued exploration for fossil fuels. We all realise that the change from fossil energy can’t happen overnight. There has to be a period of transition. But to use that fact to justify continued new exploration and development of fossil fuels is to rob the transition of all urgency and treat it rather as something we will need to gradually prepare for as fossil reserves are finally exhausted.

The message from the science is clear. If we burn more than a third of the fossil fuel reserves already discovered we will cause a level of warming likely to prove catastrophic for human society. Continue reading “Labour’s dodgy drilling policy avoids climate reality”

TDB Today: Generation Zero’s Clean Energy campaign

My post at The Daily Blog this week ignores all the political kerfuffle surrounding milk-stained cabinet ministers taking holidays from twitter, and focusses on a new report from non-partisan young climate activist group Generation Zero: A Challenge To Our Leaders – Why New Zealand needs a Clean Energy Plan. It’s an impressive piece of work, and an admirable summary of where we are today and where New Zealand should be heading. I commend it to all Hot Topic readers – the pdf is here.

TDB Today: Facing the future – no Bridges too far

In my post at The Daily Blog today — Facing the future – no Bridges too far — I take a look at the Royal Society of New Zealand’s latest information paper about the need to move New Zealand to a green economy. There’s a yawning gulf between the rational world view embodied in the RSNZ’s paper and the policy settings adopted by the current government. Which comes as no surprise…

Below the fold I’ve embedded the infographic designed by the RSNZ to accompany its paper. It’s well worth taking a look…

Continue reading “TDB Today: Facing the future – no Bridges too far”

The Doha Gateway: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair

Where we are, where we should be and the consequences. Climate Action Tracker’s graphic on our future choices.

And so. Another set of climate talks done, this year dusted with Doha sand and labeled the “Doha Gateway”.  I’m not sure what they’re a gateway to,  certainly no immediate improvement to the climate. The final hours were bizarre, to say the least.  We began the day on Saturday with a text much improved from the day before, but with some major issues outstanding.  Ministers wrangled behind closed doors for most of the day, changing bits of text here and there.

We were preparing for Russia who, with Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Ukraine, were set to continue the talks way into Saturday night.   They were holding out in the informals, furious about the discussions on hot air.

Hot air

The “Russian factor” is one those of us who’ve been involved for a few years are all too familiar with. Just when you think there’s general agreement, in come the Russians who manage to drag the talks on for hours.

“Hot air” has been major problem with the Kyoto Protocol for years.  Somehow, the Russians managed to get the Kyoto negotiators to agree to a baseline of 1990, before the collapse of the former Soviet Union, which meant millions of tonnes of carbon credits ended up in the hands of Eastern European countries, bringing them a handy income, and other countries an easy and cheap option to do nothing at home and buy cheap hot air.  Russia has 6Gt of hot air – that’s how much it’s been cheating the atmosphere.

In Durban and Doha, New Zealand has sided with this team against the wish of the rest of the world to make sure that this “hot air” didn’t get carried over into Kyoto’s second commitment period (CP2).

Continue reading “The Doha Gateway: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair”

Dear Negotiators…

Guest Post by Sam Sharp, a member of the NZ Youth Delegation in Doha 

This morning I stood with 40 other youth from all around the world to represent the voices of 1.5 billion youth who are not directly represented here at the climate change negotiations in Doha.

We stood for one and a half hours, while thousands of negotiators and NGO’s passed us on their way to the negotiations. The response was pretty overwhelming.

Between us in NZYD, we were interviewed by eight different international journalists. Youth that I had never met in my life came and stood next to me to hold up the boards with our message

”Dear Negotiators, 1.5 billion youth are not directly represented here at COP18. Your decisions must reflect their demands”.  

The Irish ex-president and nobel peace prize winner , Mary Robinson, shook our hands. Thousands of photos were taken, iPhones and cameras left right and centre.

But to me, this international media attention was not what made this experience so special.

What blew me away, was the exchanges of smiles from a select few negotiators and this huge sense of pride I felt from standing with youth from all over the world  who are fighting for action on climate change.

Negotiators who looked us in the eye, acknowledging our message and saying “We are with you” have given me this new sense of hope among  this place full of cold stares and pressed business suits. In particular, it was the negotiators from the developing countries that really stopped to acknowledge what we were doing, as many of their youth are un-represented here at COP.

I have learnt this morning, that as youth we can give such a powerful message to the world, simply by standing together to show that regardless of our nationalities, we are all here for the same reason.

We are here to be heard, and we are here to show that we already doing what we can to make sure that our generations actions make a positive, lasting change. Regardless of the amount of negotiators that gave us a smile, it is us – today’s youth – that have shown that we have the strength in numbers and unity to actually make change.

Check out the NZYD Doha Blog