News Worthy: The entanglement of Kyoto
21 September 2007 - No. 125
The entanglement of Kyoto
Increasingly New Zealand is drawn into the mire of the Kyoto Protocol and the complexities and costs of compliance with its obligations.
National has made its position clear – a climate change target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050.
On Thursday the Government announced its plan which has significant cost consequences for all New Zealanders, not the least of which is increases in the price of electricity.
Some of the announced proposals have clear merit including the decision of the Government to reverse its decision on the allocation of carbon credits on forests and the setting up of a tradeable emissions permit system.
All of this in the context of the following facts:
- The world has not warmed since 1998 - and 2007 will not break any records. For the USA, 1934 was the warmest year in the last 100 years.
- Since 1900, there has been one 23 year period - 1975-1998 - when a temperature increase was associated with a significant increase in CO2. From 1940 - 1975 CO2 went up and temperatures went down.
- There is increasingly strong evidence that the sun and cosmic rays control our climate. If this correct, then we are entering another little ice age.
- The rate of sea level rise is small and is not increasing
- The arctic had less ice in the 1930's and in the Medieval Warm Period.
Road transport – so simple really
The Roman road network at its peak was 85,000 kilometres in length.
That is almost exactly the same length, it turns out, as the current New Zealand road network. If you wanted, you could drive your chariot from northwest Africa all the way to Gaul and never get off the Roman equivalent of a state highway.
The Romans understood the importance of connectivity in a way that would shame many modern planners. This network of roads opened mainland Europe up to trade, travel, and communication.
That is what roads did 2,000 years ago and that is what they do now.
In modern New Zealand, the roading system we have developed over the years is one of the most fundamental infrastructural networks in the country. It connects us as an economy and as a society.
The traffic congestion we see in Auckland, the Bay Plenty, Wellington, and in other parts of the country is a sign that the capacity of our road network – at least in some areas – is woefully inadequate. As a result, moving people and goods has a much higher cost than it would if we had a better network.
It is to be applauded that the Government decided to commit all the petrol excise to the National Land Transport Fund. That has been National’s policy over the last few years but more is required.
As a country we need more and better state highways.
There are just three elements to improving the road network:
- Developing a national transport plan.
- Taking a more investment-focused approach to funding.
- Streamlining the process of approvals.
Believe it or not
This well sourced story involves an inventor in the Rodney District who designed a sewage disposal system which involved worm action. He sought signoff from the Auckland Regional Council and was told that one of the issues that the Council would have to be satisfied on was the psychological impact on worms of involving them in the process of working in human waste. In the result he was forced to secure expert advice on worm psychology issues.
Political Quote of the Week
"It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it." Thomas Jefferson - third President of the United States (1801-1809).
Dr Richard Worth
National Party MP