Tangled up in blue

NZETS.jpgJohn Key has announced that National will not support the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation in its current form [Stuff]. When the select committee reports back to parliament next month, National will vote against a second reading. The reactions are as you might expect: from praise at Kiwiblog to righteous indignation at No Right Turn. Hot Topic (for what it’s worth) is disappointed that climate policy is effectively becoming a political football. Key’s move doesn’t mean that the ETS is dead, but it does radically change the political landscape on climate issues. Helen Clark is insisting the ETS will proceed, but she will now need to ensure that the Greens and Maori Party are on side, and rustle up some votes from New Zealand First and/or United Future. Good luck with that.

It appears National, despite their fine words about being committed to emissions trading and firm action on emissions reductions, have made the crude political calculation that in the general clamour being raised by submitters on the ETS they can keep both their business constituency happy and lessen problems with the remaining sceptics in their ranks (and in a future support arrangement with ACT) by delaying the introduction of a scheme. Note the speed with which the climate cranks have been rushing out supporting press releases. I hope Key realises that he’ll need a long spoon to sup with that lot.

Delaying action on climate change is now an election issue. If National form the next government, it doesn’t take much of a crystal ball to see that substantive action will likely be years away as officials return to the drawing board for a third time. Those who aren’t bald already could be forgiven for tearing their hair out.

12 thoughts on “Tangled up in blue”

  1. John Key, after viewing An Inconvenient Truth, said to a reporter asking his view on climate change, “We neglect it at our peril.” I remember because I took some comfort from his words. Foolishly perhaps, it now appears.

    Terry Dunleavy, who today put out the CSC supporting press release you refer to, was accorded the hospitality of the Herald Perspectives page yet again a couple of weeks ago for the latest repetitive farrago. I offered a reply which was not published. However it was good to see Bunny McDiarmid’s Greenpeace column on the page this morning.

  2. Note also that Muriel Newman has managed to get Fred Singer a guest spot today.

    Fred is what I’d call a rent-a-contrarian and author of “unstoppable global warming…” which purported to be co-authored by 500 (mostly reluctant) scientists including a few kiwis.

    But what she’s put on her site about Fred being “one of the most distinguished scientists in the US” is incredible. This is the man who hasn’t written a piece of peer reviewed science in years.

  3. If National form the next government, it doesn’t take much of a crystal ball to see that substantive action will likely be years away as officials return to the drawing board for a third time.

    That’s the sixth time. We’re currently on our fifth iteration of climate change policy, and our second attempt to implement emissions trading. If this fails, then you really have to wonder what they’ll try next (you also have to wonder whether any of the staff at MfE will have the stomach for it, or whether they’ll just all resign in disgust).

  4. He isn’t, and they aren’t. Nor is Singer.

    The worst thing is that that our cranks will be trumpeting National’s “wisdom”, and our media will let them get away with it.

    Aaaarrrggghh. That’s about the best political commentary I can provide at the moment.

  5. Dear Friends,

    There are many lessons in these threads, but this thread appears to point out so dramatically one of the most pernicious human-driven challenges confronting the family of humanity: the deleterious effects of filthy lucre that is consolidated in the hands of a tiny group of people at the tiptop of the human community’s global political economy. The way the economy of humanity is organized and managed, endless economic growth, endless wealth accumulation, conspicuous resource consumption and endless hoarding of limited resources are presented as the only way to play “the only game in town.” That the ‘only game in town’ richly services the few, unfortunately sacrifices the “many too many” and is soon to become patently unsustainable is shrouded in silence.

    Of course, everyone who looks out at the world with fresh eyes as commentators here are doing, sees this immediately and refuses to allow personal, selfish interests and the approbation of others to keep them from breaking the silence that engulfs most people in the human world today.

    The lesson here to which I draw attention is the way wealth and the power it purchases serve so pervasively to corrupt the thought, judgement and will of the economic powerbrokers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians, and leave the rest of us searching, despite the silence, for acknowledgement of the need to find a sustainable path to a good enough future. The well being of our children and a chance at life for coming generations are being put at risk by too many leaders who adamantly call for evermore over-consumption, overproduction and overpopulation on the tiny planet God blesses us to inhabit and not overwhelm, I suppose.



    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

  6. The one thing I have noticed in the commentary in the last few days is the lack of the real argument. It has been turned into an economic argument (which of course is needed), but the real issue here and one that is most frightening, is that GHG emissions need to be reduced. Anyone who understands the science knows this. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide will reach 450 ppm in the near future (probably in less than a decade) and in most likelihood, New Zealand will not do anything to reduce its emissions before then.

  7. We’re at 387. That’s 63 ppm short of 450. At 2 ppm per year, just over 30 years, dropping to 25 at 2.5 ppm. Somebody else can work out what rapid economic growth in India and China will have in that timeframe – but it will almost certainly bring 450 nearer than that.

  8. On the topic of John Key, from the The Marlborough Express | Monday, 19 May 2008

    “Environmental concerns would be listened to, Mr Key said, but there was no point in overly protecting the environment if you had no economy left.”

    Is John Key really serious? Surely he has this the wrong way round.

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