The so called carbon zero bill is now law having being passed in to law without dissent by Parliament last Thursday.
It is a bit shattering to those who have worked so hard to prevent this destructive bill from becoming law. The NZ economy is going to suffer enormously and even if the law succeeded in reducing some emissions, which is highly unlikely, it is certain that it will make no difference to global temperatures and there will be absolutely no benefits to NZ.
National was put under a lot of pressure to not support this bill, with its caucus having a rare late night meeting the night before the vote because of a lot of messages sent to MPs urging them not to support it. Richard Harmen of Politik put that down to a plea by The NZ Centre for Political Research for people to contact National MPs and express concern about the bill. Along with that plea was a guest comment written by me which you can see here. https://www.nzcpr.com/carbon-zero-bill-will-derail-our-economy-and-wellbeing/
National has promised to make some changes to the law if they become government which they say will improve it especially for farmers, but National does not have a good record when it comes to changing the bad things Labour does so we will see. It is good that National now finally realise methane is different to CO2 because when it was in Government it refused to accept that. Over 9 years I repeatedly wrote to all the National Party climate change ministers asking them to treat methane separately with no success. For all its faults it has been a Labour Government which recognized the need for a split target approach. It is a shame the target was not more scientific which would make it about a 0% reduction required.
Audrey Young of the NZ Herald has again stated that it was NZ First which opposed any accommodation of National’s concerns over the bill and especially the high methane reduction targets, and insisted on the onerous and unjustifiable targets remaining in the bill. With this Carbon zero bill being labelled as historic and a watershed moment it is just not possible for NZ First to now describe themselves as supportive of farmers anymore. There could have been an enduring way forward for farmers had National’s new found concerns over methane been addressed, but Winston Peter’s personal feelings and vendetta against the Nats has prevented that. It appears it is more important to him to stiff the Nats than help farmers.
The carbon zero bill is in itself harmless because it does not require anyone to do anything. The law now requires the Government to reduce methane emissions by 10% by 2030, not farmers. Of course the Government is going to have to develop some policy to make farmers do that and whatever that is will be the harmful part.
So farmers do not need to do anything and should not until a policy response is devised by the Government requires them to. The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill is before Parliament select committee for reporting back next April. This is to put in place the backup ETS inclusion of livestock emissions if the industry agreement comes to nothing. The time frames of these measures mean there will be no reduction of methane emissions at all by 2030. If progress is not being made under the industry agreement, then in 2022 farmers will go in the ETS, but as has been stated this will more likely increase emissions than decrease them. As far as the industry agreement to measure emissions goes that is 2025 before it could even make a difference and so only 5 years before 2030 which is not enough time. Remember while we hear some farmers say they can do a 10% reduction, most can’t and it is a total industry requirement not an individual farm target. There is also a provision in the bill requiring the Minister to recognize and mitigate the impacts of the law on Maori people, so Maori farmers should not suffer any costs associated with whatever law is put in place.
It will be tough for non Maori farmers going forward because they have allowed themselves to be the only sector under pressure to reduce emissions. No other industry sector is under pressure to do anything. Other industry and consumers will just carry on albeit with increased costs if the carbon price increases.
It is the worst possible outcome for farmers and the environment that the sector which produces emissions which don’t need reducing is the only one under pressure to reduce them. The reason the Nats ended up supporting the bill is because it is redefining itself as urban liberal and urban people are not concerned about the cost of this law because they are not under pressure to do anything and this law does not require them to either. Of course the townies will soon realise this will cost them once the Government introduces measure to comply with the ever decreasing carbon budgets imposed by this law. More fool them I say.
James Shaw expects farmers to now get on with the job of reducing emissions and farmers should tell him to get stuffed. He cannot compel them to do anything under this law.
Shaw claims incorrectly that the 10% methane reduction by 2030 is consistent with what is required to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. Well the CO2 emissions reduction requirement to stay under 1.5 degrees is 50% by 2030.
Farmers should be saying to the Government, how are you going on that 50% reduction of CO2? Farmers should make sure any methane reduction requirements they agree to are in proportion to the CO2 reductions (without offset) being achieved by the rest of the country.
CO2 emissions will continue to increase because this law won’t work, so farmers should insist in the interest of fairness that any law that requires them to reduce emissions of methane by 10% are conditional on CO2 emissions tracking to reduce by 50% over 10 years.
Farmers need to put pressure back on the Government and Parliament, they passed the law so it should be they who suffer from it and they will suffer as soon as they start writing laws that attempt to get voters to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030.
The carbon zero law is a fantasy that won’t work. Reality will hit when the urbanites realise the polluter is not the farmer, it is the baby who needs milk formula to survive.