NZ business leaders sceptical about climate science

NZ’s business leaders remain to be convinced about the accuracy of climate science, according to the New Zealand Herald’s coverage of its own Mood of the Boardroom survey:

The country’s top chief executives don’t think climate-change science is accurate and believe the Government is overstating the risk to New Zealand. But they’re ready to prepare for a carbon-constrained economy.

The situation is no better in small to medium enterprises (SMEs):

At least seven out of 10 SME heads (72 per cent) are yet to be convinced of the science of climate change, but 79 per cent say New Zealand should prepare for a carbon-constrained global economy. Sixty-eight per cent identify a risk to the national brand or exports if New Zealand doesn’t move to reduce carbon emissions.

I suppose that’s a relief: they’re willing to do the right thing anyway. I hope they will find the time to read Hot Topic (due out early August). It’s always better to do the right thing for the right reason.

Further down the page, Roger Kerr of the Business Roundtable is given room to prove just how much of a dinosaur he is when it comes to climate change:

“Carbon neutrality is completely unobtainable for the foreseeable future, even if we closed all our agricultural sector, banned all cars and other forms of transport and stopped economic growth. What then should New Zealand do about the Kyoto Protocol? We are not going to meet our commitments by a country mile. Do we ignore the protocol or do we honestly withdraw from it?

7 thoughts on “NZ business leaders sceptical about climate science”

  1. Rob Fyfe hits the nail on the head with his statement…….
    “We will never know definitively whether the science [of climate change] is right until it is too late”
    Good risk management practice then should lead us to start doing something about it.
    A good supplementary question for the CEO’s would be to ask where they get their information on climate change. Let’s hope they will read Hot Topic (or get into RealClimate).
    Another good question might be to ask their academic background.

  2. Yes, I think Air New Zealand “gets it” because it knows that it is incredibly vulnerable to consumer perceptions outside NZ. As Fyfe continues:

    People care about this stuff and people’s purchasing behaviour and lifestyles will become increasingly influenced by their beliefs.

    And speaking of where they get their climate info – who is informing the politicians? The government clearly takes advice from its officials, but where do National, ACT, NZ First etc get their advice? Is there not some scope for “official” advice to provided to all parties – in the same manner as the national accounts are available to all – so that they can formulate intelligent policy, rather than indulge in wishful (or other forms of) thinking?

  3. Rather than hoping that business leaders read your book, why don’t you put a proposal to Peter Neilson at the NZ Business council for Sustainable Development to offer copies to members at a special price? I’m sure he would be prepared to listen and may even consider applying some funding to such a project.

  4. The headline on that story is a shocker: “Forget the science, follow Helen’s rules”. Now, I didn’t vote for her, but I’m guessing it’s curtains for Labour if the press feels free to dig at their leader like that.

    As for where the business leaders get their info, I’m guess the Climate Science Coalition getting set up last year (November, was it?) and firing out media releases practically every day might have something to do with it.

    I also suspect there’s a huge vein of anti-environmentalist feeling (especially in rural areas) just waiting to be tapped.

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