The just released OECD environmental report gave New Zealand a fail for amongst other things our per capita greenhouse gas emissions being among the highest in the world.
Former New Zealand Environment Minister Simon Upton led the compilation of the report and in that there is an irony. Simon Upton is the clown who as Environment Minister in a National government signed the Kyoto protocol. It gets worse because he was instrumental in ensuring our agricultural biological emissions were lumped in with our fossil sourced emissions in a carbon accounting methodology that he has since admitted was a mistake.
In a speech to the NZ Resource Management Law Association in Nelson in September 2016 Upton said “agricultural gases” methane and nitrous oxide should not be lumped together for policy purposes.
He advocates for differentiating between long and short lived gases each with its own accounting and management regime. He also advocates for not using forestry to offset CO2 emissions because CO2 lasts for 100 years plus and trees don’t as a rule.
He is quite right in his reasoning now, he has seen sense at last but the damage is done. And it is him that has done the damage.
All be it a bit late he now realizes that long lived gases like CO2 and N2O are too different to short lived gases like methane to be quantified in the same way with the carbon unit. He is right of course but his problem is that he has not figured out that if you say that carbon emissions which are produced by methane are not the same as carbon emissions which are produced by nitrous oxide, what you are saying is the carbon unit is a nonsense.
So what credence should we put on a report he has written in which he lambasts us for having the fifth highest emissions per capita in the OECD of the carbon unit that he has previously rubbished?
What the OECD report should have stated is that our CO2 emissions (which are the only ones that really matter assuming global warming is real) are less than half that of Australia and the UK and the USA and so the OECD is out of line to criticize us on that score.
To read Upton’s speech to the NZ Resource Management Law Association click link below.