Last post for the year, with Doha done and Kyoto almost done I think we all deserve a break from the topic of global warming and ETS etc.
A new year will dawn soon and we will have no Kyoto obligation. No NZ Government has been able to stem the increases in our greenhouse gas emissions and under Kyoto we could only emit 60% more than 1990 levels before facing a liability. So at 59.5 % up on 1990 levels the Government has done the only thing it can and pull out of it
Tim Groser has handled the flak from the Greenies well and spun the line that Kyoto only accounted for 15% of world emissions and that was why NZ was pulling out. The media believed him.
On biological emission Groser has always given me the impression that he believes what we are saying without going so far as to admit to it. Using language like
“NZ remains committed to meeting its international climate change obligations and advocates for an appropriate approach to agricultural emissions in the next agreement” in a letter to me which can only be read that he believes that the current approach to agricultural emissions is inappropriate.
Or as reported by Pattrick Smellie in the NBR
“Some 34 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand are from methane, a shorter-lived but far more powerful gas than what Mr Groser called “the real climate change problem”, carbon dioxide.”
So the current approach to agricultural emissions is inappropriate and if it is CO2 that is the ‘real climate change problem’ then livestock methane obviously isn’t.
Maybe our message is getting through.
Groser did give a warning that the ETS has not been gutted as the opposition claims and that it is only because the latest changes to it coincided with a crash in carbon prices that give the impression that the ETS is toothless.
Carbon prices will increase he says in the NZ Herald and “foresters will be happier as the carbon they sequester becomes more valuable (paper profits unless they sell them) and emitters will be less happy as they pay a higher carbon price.” He is wrong about emitters not being happy, they don’t care they just pass on the costs, so it is the consumers that will not be happy, the poor being the most miserable.
It has been said that bio fuel has been the greatest crime against humanity ever. While that may be true on a global scale I think the ETS is the greatest crime against humanity ever committed by any NZ Government.
Tim Groser in the same NZ Herald article justified not including an entry date for biological emissions into the ETS saying
“Finally, on agriculture, let me state the obvious. Our agriculture exports account for around two-thirds of our export earnings and New Zealand has not had a current account surplus for 30 years.
So is this a great time to put new costs on our major exporting industry when we have a huge need to increase our exports? The Government does not think so.”
I have never supported opposing the entry of livestock emissions into the ETS on the basis of costs because as far as the half of the voting population that will elect a Labour Green govt farmers are too rich anyway and the more costs imposed on them the better. I have also seen it as dangerous to say that “this is not a good time because we can not afford it” because what happens when we can? The good news on that front is that by linking it to the trade deficit Groser is putting in place an argument that will last another30 years. This is because with NZ not having recorded a trade surplus since 1973, despite having just enjoyed the highest commodity prices in a generation, we are not likely to start producing trade surpluses any time in the next 30 years. The average combined foreign private and government debt climbs as a result. NZ’s current foreign debt stands at $500,000 for every family in NZ. We’ll be selling more than a few farms to the Chinese if we want to keep importing flat screen tv’s after another 30 years of deficits.
Tim Groser’s argument will be useful if he gets the role of Director General for the WTO because Simon Bridges who is the associate spokesman for Climate Change Issues may take over and he is convinced that biological emissions are “the real problem”. Despite absolutely no scientific link existing between livestock and atmospheric methane concentration he said to me in a letter.
“In transforming one greenhouse gas to a more potent greenhouse gas, ruminant livestock do contribute to climate change. Therefore as agreed in international accounting rules this effect needs to be accounted for”
I replied to him “Arguing that international rules on the treatment of enteric methane dictate that the Government does these things, does not mitigate the fact that the Government agreed to these rules despite the lack of a scientific link between livestock and atmospheric methane concentrations. I urge the Government to exercise more care and diligence before committing the people of New Zealand to any future agreements.”
Thank you to all of those who have joined up with PFCR this year. Thank you also to the long suffering supporters from previous years. This is a long game we are playing. This year has been hectic in terms of administering the membership drive and the receipting and recording of payments. It has been very time consuming but we still managed to make a nuisance of ourselves where we could. I believe our submission to the select Committee on the entry date for livestock into the ETS did make a difference because the Government changed it as we asked for in our submission from a delay “for a maximum of 3 years” to indefinite. We will continue to batter away where we can with letters and complaints and submissions and we are still committed to getting that vital support to our argument in the form of an irrefutable study. Science will not win against politics however so it is vital that the study is constructed correctly and is able to compliment the political arguments. There is much still to do but nothing will be done for the next month because I am taking a break. I hope you all get a nice break as well.
I am battening down the hatches with the remains of cyclone Evan bearing down on us. As I write the rain is starting to fall. Apparently cyclones are caused by global warming, something for us to ponder over the summer after having just suffered a record cold spring.
Merry Christmas. Robin