Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


NZ energy policy: fiscal idiocy, atmospheric self-harm

NZ Govt energy policy: fiscal idiocy and atmospheric self-harm

Blogpost by Rosalind Atkinson - April 2, 2014

As the IPPC report predicts dire consequences for New Zealand, our politicians talk only about ‘adaptation’ to Climate Change while carving up NZ for more fossil fuel exploration and maintaining an 'all of the above' approach to energy that even Simon Bridges thinks is just good rhetoric.

On Monday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - a whole bunch of extremely smart scientists - released their highly anticipated report on climate change impacts. The increased focus on issues for humans, not just the environment, and the havoc a changing climate looks set to wreak, is rightly setting off alarm bells across the globe.

"Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said, and Professor Neil Adger of Exeter University similarly doesn’t mince words: "Climate change is happening, there are big risks for everyone and no place in the world is immune from them." Here in NZ that means increased flooding, fires, sea level rise, storms, and biodiversity loss, as well as the effects of increased conflict and increases in food prices.

This is not an ‘oh well, never mind’ situation, yet the best our Climate Change Minister Tim Groser can offer is to talk about ‘Adaptation’. When he says this, what does he actually mean? What does he envisage? That we will move cities? Redirect roads? Abandon regions? As George Monbiot points out, it’s a wonder whether Groser knows what he’s talking about at all.

But perhaps most unbelieveably of all, in the very same week as this unprecedented warning about the risks of failing to take action, our associate Minister for Climate Change, Simon Bridges, is preparing to offer up vast swathes of land and ocean for Oil and Gas exploitation.

Today, Bridges will be announcing the 2014 ‘Block Offer’ of land and sea areas for further fossil fuel exploitation, at the Advantage NZ Geotechnical Petroleum Forum. He’s already told us that his ‘all of the above’ approach to energy is nothing but hollow rhetoric, but in the face of the new IPCC report, the government’s project of aggressive fossil fuel expansion is not just economically misguided but criminally irresponsible.

This is not a case of environment versus economics. The necessary shift away from fossil fuels represents a massive opportunity for renewable energy and a thriving clean economy, as shown byGreenpeace, Pure Advantage, The NZ Royal Society, and others. Investing New Zealanders’ money in a wild goose chase after dwindling fossil fuel reserves is fiscally idiotic as well as atmospheric self-harm. Failing to take the opportunities mitigation offers us now will mean immense costs later, in terms of both money and wellbeing.

Other governments around the world are responding to the challenge with renewed vigour and vision. UK Secretary of State Edward Davey says: “This evidence strengthens the case for early action in the UK and around the world to lessen the significant risks posed by climate change. We cannot afford to wait.” I find it deeply painful to read our own climate change Minister’s statement that the report is a “useful contribution” that affirms “adaption” as a response.

“Adaptation” in this context means wilful inaction in the face of an era-defining opportunity. We’re one of the highest emitters in the world on a per capita basis and with current settings that’s only going to increase. We need more than a few individual choices. We need strong and visionary leadership. One of the report's lead authors, Macquarie University Professor Lesley Hughes, is clear that the ‘wait and see’ approach is not going to cut it, reminding us that "it's not all doom and gloom if we get a wriggle on and do a lot about it." I can’t believe that the best our Ministers can do is remind us of New Zealand’s tiny size and inability to affect global emissions.

We weren’t always treated to this kind of nihilistic fatalism. Back in 2007, we heard something different. “I have faith that New Zealand can influence the world”, said this politician, “and I have faith that New Zealanders can rise to this global economic shift…. I want to reward Kiwi good-mindedness by leading a Government that acts in an economically sound, principled and visionary way to tackle the greatest environmental challenge of our time... We believe a strong New Zealand voice on climate change is vital to the “brand” our exporters rely on, and can be a key force for rallying the global troops.”

Who was this crazy lefty? The same man who yesterday flatly told the nation that “we can only do so much and that’s a pretty small amount,” and that our small size is an excuse to continue to do basically nothing. Also known as John Key, our Prime Minister. For shame.

Once upon a time, Key was “hugely hopeful about New Zealand’s ability to maximise the opportunities presented by this global challenge” (2007 again). Now his Ministers are dangling pieces of our country in front of the increasingly desperate fossil fuel industry and ignoring the opportunities that come with decisive climate action. They’re stuck in a dinosaur model of business as usual and it’s not going to cut it.

There’s a chance to change course here for a prosperous and less risky future. But those at the helm are sailing us straight into the storm. “This is the critical decade,” says the IPCC’s Professor Hughes. Are we willing to believe our leaders when they tell us we’re powerless, and obediently just ‘wait and see’ what happens?

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

NZEI Survey Report: Special Needs Students Missing Out

The survey revealed that around 16 percent of students were on schools’ special needs registers, but nearly 90 percent of schools’ special needs coordinators did not believe there was adequate support for students and their learning... More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Waitangi Tribunal On Ture Whenua Legislation

Labour on Proposed changes to Maori land rules: “To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report..." More>>

ALSO:

Spy Update: Appointment Of GCSB Acting Director

GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) from 15 February 2016, Minister Responsible for the GCSB Christopher Finlayson announced today. More>>

Protests Close Roads: TPP Signed In Auckland

“TPP was signed by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.” More>>

ALSO:

Emails Behind 'Diplomatic Immunity' Case: Whitehead Report Released

“As previously indicated the conclusions reached by Mr Whitehead’s investigation are not unexpected but they are very disappointing,” Mr Mccully says. “At the heart of the matter is a single email, along with procedural shortcomings, which gave Malaysian officials the impression it would be acceptable for Mr Rizalman to return to Malaysia." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Treaty/TPP Overlap, And Iowa

The fears about the ISDS provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership deal are well-founded. The reality is that there is a sharp uptick in the occurrence of ISDS litigation in developed countries, and even the right wing likes of The Economist have been souring on the process for some time. More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Red Zone Offers: Fresh High Court Proceedings

Grant Cameron, Solicitor for the Quake Outcasts said “the action seeks judicial review of the Crown’s recent decision to make a fresh offer to purchase properties from uninsured property owners in red zones. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Post-Cabinet Press Conference: Waitangi And TPP

Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday said his office has received an invitation for him to visit the Lower Marae on Waitangi Day, but was waiting for a meeting of the Te Tii Marae Trustees. More>>

ALSO:

Flagged: 'Wrong Colour' Bridge Flag To Change

NZ First: Only 13 days after National trumpeted its legally questionable flag on Auckland Harbour Bridge, it is now coming down because it is the wrong colour... “Mr Key’s latest flag fiasco is another waste of taxpayers' money. Given it is coming down, down is exactly the location where it should remain. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Children Head Back To School

“Across the whole of this year we expect 61,820 five year olds will begin their primary schooling for the first time,” says the Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey. More>>

ALSO:

Dog & Lemon: FBI Disagrees With NZ Government Over Police Chases

Multiple studies, quoted by the FBI, show that once suspects realise they're no longer being chased; they tend to slow down to normal driving speeds and therefore become far less of a risk. The FBI report also categorically rejected the argument that abandoning police chases meant ‘giving in’ to offenders. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news