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Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett revealed

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70 percent pure NZ

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TVNZ’s Q+A on Sunday 24 April featured an interview with Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett. Her responses were further evidence that  National was  increasingly  unable (or unwilling) to cope with the growing threat of climate change.

Posing a series of surprisingly incisive questions and follow-ups, the ever-youthful-looking Jack Tame held Minister Bennett to account in a way that few other interviewers have done;

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paula bennett - climate change - Q+A - 24 april 2016

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Up untill now, Jack Tame’s presence in the US focused mainly on the theatrics of the  Hollywood entertainment industry or the equally-theatric Presidential primaries. They were for the most part light, breezy stories – even with the increasingly bizarre and somewhat menacing nature of the rise and rise of  Lex Luthor Donald Trump, as the potential Republican candidate.

However, on this occassion,   Tame’s Q+A interview was a masterful deconstruction of Minister Bennett’s waffle, revealing  how woefully unprepared for Tame’s skillful probing she really was.

As the thirteen minute segment progressed, it rapidly became apparent that, aside from platitudes and rhetoric,  Bennett had no real answers or  any actual, meaningful commitment to addressing New Zealand’s increasing emissions of  greenhouse-gas pollution of our atmosphere. It was as it she were still Social Welfare Minister, patiently explaining how National would be “helping” solo-mums with contraception, all the while sounding like an overly-concerned, benevolent, tough-loving  nana.

In fact, not since 2 May 2015 – when Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga was interviewed and demolished by seasoned interviewer, Lisa Owen, on TV3’s The Nation – has a government minister had their ineptitude so publicly paraded for the entire country to witness (if they so decided to tune in on a Sunday morning, at 9am.

Unfortunately, we should not be surprised that National is luke-warm on the looming crisis of climate change. Despite making very clear promises, National has broken one of it’s prime committments to the Emissions Trading Scheme – to eventually  include agriculture.

The time-line to this act of duplicity clearly illustrates National’s early promises and then reneging;

13 May 2007

In a speech by  then Opposition-leader, John Key;

In particular I’m going to speak about the biggest environmental challenge of our time: global climate change.

The National Party will ensure that New Zealand acts decisively to confront this challenge.

The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is real and it’s threatening the planet. There are some armchair sceptics out there, but I’m not one of them…

… National is committed to growing our economy. Confronting climate change will be a vital part of the policy mix for fuelling that growth…

… In the decades ahead, peoples’ perceptions around climate change will affect the brand image of New Zealand and its exports. New Zealand must take credible steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or risk becoming a trading pariah…

… National will have policies that reflect the fact that living on a diet of carbon will be increasingly bad – bad for the world and bad for our economy. We will have policy that encourages ‘climate friendly’ choices like windmills, hydro power and tree planting, and reduces the desire for ‘climate unfriendly’ behaviours, like burning coal…

… National will bring all Kiwis – industry, energy producers, farmers, mums and dads – closer to a shared and well-understood goal. We need to be united in our pursuit of a ’50 by 50′ target.

8 April 2010

Prime Minister John Key rejects demands  to amend the  Emissions Trading Scheme before it takes effect on the energy and transport sectors in July despite calls from business groups, farmers, and ACT.

Key tells reporters at the launch of the Global Research Alliance’s inaugural meeting on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

6 June 2010

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith announces that whether or not agriculture comes into the emissions trading scheme  in 2015  will depend on technological advances and what other countries do.

9 November 2011

Environment Minister Nick Smith announces,

… It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet.“

2 July 2012

Then-Climate Change Minister, Tim Groser,  announces four amendments to the Emissions Trading Scheme;

  • Keeping the ‘one-for-two’ obligation in place until after this year. This means participants in the scheme will continue to surrender units for half the carbon they emit;
  • Maintaining the $25 ‘fixed-price option’ until at least 2015, which caps the price firms will face if carbon prices begin to rise internationally;
  • Introducing off-setting for pre-1990 forest land owners, and allocating the full second tranche of compensation where off-setting is not taken; and
  • Leaving agricultural emissions out of the ETS until at least 2015.

20 August 2012

National introduces  “Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012”, which will remove agricultural emissions indefinitely, and will,

remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.

National’s repudiation of it’s 2007 committment to include agriculture was complete. Despite a clear promise by our esteemed Dear Leader, agriculture was permanently omitted from the ETS.

As I pointed out in October 2012;

During National’s four years in office, they have broken several promises and the weakening of the ETS is simply one more on the list. It also further highlights  John Key’s ability to say one thing – whilst knowing full well that he has no intention of fulfilling committments, or will do completely the opposite.

An editorial in the Dominion Post, on 20 April, was no less scathing in it’s condemnation of National’s inertia;

The Government’s climate change policy has been a failure and will have to be rebuilt. There needs to be a fundamental change in the Emissions Trading Scheme, the subject this week of a damning report by the Gareth Morgan Foundation.  But other changes are also needed.

[…]

Bennett concedes, however, that the ETS was “not perfect”, and is now being reviewed. In fact the ETS has been a fiasco. What’s more, it continues to cast its dirty shadow. 

The Government has banned the purchase of  foreign credits, but it could still use the bad credits to meet its climate change targets up to 2020.

It must not do so. Instead, it needs to revamp the whole scheme, starting by ending the subsidies it gives to polluters such as the oil industry. The “one for two” scheme introduced in 2009 allows businesses to pay only half the cost of their greenhouse gas emissions.

It also needs to reverse its decision to keep agriculture, which produces half the country’s emissions, out of the ETS. National argues that making farming pay for its pollution would be unfair because there is no workable way yet of reducing animal emissions and our export industry should not be penalised. 

Farmers, however, are not exempt from the country’s global environmental duties, and will also respond to economic signals – even if this is a pledge to bring agriculture into the scheme within, say, five years

Jack Tame’s superb interview on 24 April merely confirms pathetic National’s track record on this issue and it now appears that  Minister Bennett will simply follow in the footsteps of her do-nothing-predecessors, Ministers Smith, Groser, et al.

Bennett certainly has no intention of adopting any of the bold, radical – but much-needed – policies as advocated by Professor Jim Skea, co-chairperson of the IPCC Working Group III, and interviewed by Radio NZ’s Kathryn Ryan on 27 April;

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How do we wean ourselves off fossil fuel - Radio NZ - Kathryn Ryan - Prof Jim Skea - IPCC

(alt. link)

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Listen to the two interviews and judge for yourself which person is seriously committed to combating climate change – and which person is a politician who has plenty of empty platitudes to offer, but little else.

In her previous role as Social Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett had much to say about welfare-fraud.

Her empty words on  addressing climate change is a fraud on a much grander, and ultimately vastly more destructive,  scale.

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Postscript1: Memo to TVNZ

Jame Tame’s interview with Minister Bennett reveals a young man with considerable journalistic skills. He should be given every opportunity to make full use of his under-utilised talents.

TVNZ (and TV3) should maximise the talents of their journalistic and production staff by shifting Q+A and The Nation to prime time viewing slots during the early evening.

Why hide excellence early on weekend mornings, where it is not easily appreciated and valued by the general public?

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Postscript2: Memo to Paula Bennett

Ms Bennett, your performance on 24 April was a dismal failure. You are either unwilling to seriously confront the challenges of climate change or, apparently, you are in way over your head on this issue.

Either way, you should resign your Climate Change portfolio. This job is too important to be left to your glib inanities.

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References

TVNZ: Q+A – Climate Change Paris Agreement signed

NZ Herald: NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions soar

Fairfax media: Beneficiary contraception plan ‘intrusive’

Scoop media: John Key Speech – Climate Change Target

NZ Herald: ETS changes ‘unlikely’ despite pleas

NBR: ETS may exclude agriculture – Climate Change Minister

Interest.co.nz: National would phase in ETS obligations for transport, electricity, industrial sectors; Will review Agriculture in 2014

Beehive.co.nz: Government announces ETS amendments

Parliament: Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012

Dominion Post: Editorial – Big changes are needed in the Government’s climate change plan

Radio NZ: How do we wean ourselves off fossil fuel ? (alt. link) (audio)

Previous related blogposts

Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012 – environment

John Key – more pledges, more broken promises?

As predicted: National abandons climate-change responsibilities

National ditches environmental policies

ETS – National continues to fart around

Dear Leader – fibbing again?!

National – what else can possibly go wrong?!

National’s moving goalposts on climate change targets

“The Nation” reveals gobsmacking incompetence by Ministers English and Lotu-Iiga

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 April 2016.

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National’s moving goalposts on climate change targets

23 July 2015 4 comments

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global carbon dioxide rises - NASA

This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.)

global temperature rises - NASA

Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.

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Top image: NASA

Bottom image: NASA

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1. The Promise

What John Key said to the National Blue-Green Forum, on 6 September 2008, one month before the up-coming election that year;

What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand.  We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.  And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies.  Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…

… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.

Significantly, Key added;

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.

Pre-election, Key had unequivocally committed National to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and  honouring New  Zealand’s Kyoto Protocol obligations.

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climate change - global warming - new zealand - greenhouse emissions (1)

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2. Agriculture and the Emissions Trading Scheme – Timeline of a Broken Promise

On  May 2008,  John Key stated,

National supports the principle of the ETS and is following the select committee process closely. National has had reservations about the timing of new taxes on motorists and households when there has been no personal tax relief for so long.”

On 8 April 2010, Key confirmed that the ETS would be preserved unchanged,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

By 6 June 2010, the then-Climate Minister,  Nick Smith announced that whether or not agriculture comes into the emissions trading scheme  in 2015  would depend on technological advances and what other countries do.

And on  9 November 2011,  Nick Smith announced,

… It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet. The lack of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry. It would also have New Zealand too far ahead of our trading partners on climate change mitigation measures. National will review the position in 2014 and only include agriculture if new technologies are available and more progress is made internationally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

By 3 July 2012, Key began to publicly vacillate,

John Key says the Government will wait for other countries to follow suit before introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme…

And on 20 August 2012, National introduced the “Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012″, which would remove agricultural emmissions indefinitely, and;

“…remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.

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Farmers' ETS exemption progresses

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It took them four years to do it, but with some cunning public manipulation (and outright lies) –  National achieved it’s real agenda,

  1. Watering down the ETS until it was toothless,
  2. Keeping agriculture (the worst emitter of greenhouse gases in NZ) out of the ETS
  3. Abandoning the Kyoto protocol

It was National’s worst broken promise (one of many), and it successfully slipped under the public and media radar.

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climate change - global warming - new zealand - greenhouse emissions (4)

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3.  Gagging the Watchmen

Part of National’s strategy to cope with embarrassing  data on unpalatable problems – is to eliminate the data. This is Standard Operating Procedure for this government, and has been used to prevent data collected on Child Poverty and foreign investors buying up farms and houses.

By eliminating (or not collecting) data, it becomes difficult for the media and public to assess problems and determine how effective the government is in dealing with them.

The public, media, Opposition parties, and other critics become reliant on hear-say, anecdotal evidence, and evidence obtained through back-door methods. The recent release of a list of non-resident/citizen Chinese investors in our already over-heated property-market is perhaps the best example of this pressing problem.

National also employed the same tactic  by no longer requiring five-yearly State of the Environment Reports from the Ministry of the Environment;

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State of the Environment report stopped

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National’s minister explained;

Environment Minister Amy Adams said the ministry is continually tracing environmental performance using 22 core indicators and the change is to ensure new information is released as it comes to hand.

Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright was not impressed, and said as much;

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright said that is not good enough, because the data is not compiled, analysed, or compared.

Ms Wright is correct. This was National’s clumsy move to silence critics and hide evidence of our on-going environmental degradation. (See Addendum1 below)

Because really, if Minister Adams wanted “to ensure new information is released as it comes to hand” – there is absolutely no sound reason why that could not be done and still have five yearly State of the Environment Reports produced.

The only possible reason for State of the Environment Reports being scrapped by National is that they were fearful of the information that would become public.

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climate change - global warming - new zealand - greenhouse emissions (5)

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4. National abandons Kyoto Protocols

At the same time that National was quietly abandoning it’s pre-election committment to include agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme, our esteemed dear Leader, John Key, was announcing that New Zealand would not commit to the second state of the Kyoto protocols;

Prime Minister John Key has defended the Government’s decision not to sign on for the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol, saying the country is playing its part in combating climate change.

The climate change treaty’s first commitment period expires at the end of the year and New Zealand expects to slightly exceed its target.

The treaty aims to curb international greenhouse gas emissions through binding national commitments but some countries have questioned its effectiveness.

New Zealand would be joining other countries in going following the “convention track”, Mr Key said on TVNZ’s Breakfast show today.

“Next year New Zealand will name a binding commitment to climate change – it will actually have a physical rate that we’re going to hit – but instead of being what’s called a second commitment period that is likely to run from 2012 to 2020, we’ll be able to set our own rules around that,” Mr Key said.

As Fairfax’s Vernon Small reported at the time;

The Government has opted not to sign up to the second Kyoto Protocol commitment period from 2013 and will instead take its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the parallel “United Nation Convention Framework”.

Protocol targets are legally binding, and the convention ones are not.

[…]

That would mean from next year New Zealand would be aligning its climate change efforts with developed and developing countries responsible for 85 per cent of global emissions.

 “This includes the United States, Japan, China, India, Canada, Brazil, Russia and many other major economies,” Groser said.

In other words, our government has put us into a ‘club’ with the world’s major polluters.

Key wants to  “set our own rules around” climate change. It is fairly apparent what those rules are; doing as little as possible.

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climate change - global warming - new zealand - greenhouse emissions (5)

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5. Shifting Goalposts

Even less known by the msm (mainstream media)  and public is how National has moved targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 1991. For the the past 24 years, successive National governments have quietly and with little scrutiny,  changed targets for reducing emissions.

  • First Target

In September 1993, the Bolger-led National Government signed up to  the  UNFCCC  (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) .  Four months after the UNFCCC came into effect, in July 1994, National announced a number of very specific climate change committments, as the State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997 report outlined;

◊ a target of reducing net emissions to 1990 volumes by the year 2000,

◊ a target of slowing growth of gross emissions by 20%,

◊ increased carbon storage in plantation forests

◊ energy sector reforms

◊ an energy efficiency strategy and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA),

◊ renewable energy sources

◊ use of the Resource Management Act; and,

◊ voluntary agreements with industry.

(Source for precise bullet-points – Wikipedia)

Even the initial target –  reducing net emissions to 1990 volumes by the year 2000 – was the bare minimum, being set at net levels, rather than gross.

National stipulated that if emissions were not stabilised at 1990 levels, by 2000, a (low-level) carbon charge would be introduced in December 1997.

  • Second Target

By July 1996, plans were under way to water down those targets set only three years earlier. Then Environment Minister, Simon Upton “committed” his government to;

…take precautionary actions to help stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in order to reduce risk from global climate change, and to meet New Zealand’s commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including:

•  To return net emissions of carbon dioxide to no more than their 1990 levels by the year 2000 (but aim for a reduction in net carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent below their 1990 levels by the year 2000 if this is cost-effective and will not harm our trade) and to maintain them at this level thereafter; and

•  To reduce net emissions of other greenhouse gases, particularly methane, by the year 2000 where possible and maintain them at those levels thereafter.

Cost effective“, “not harm our trade“, and “where possible” – the weasel words of a government determined not to be bound by any committment.

One could imagine the reaction if those terms were included in marriage vows or other social or legal contract.

  • Third Target

Two years later,  on 22 May 1998,  National ratified  the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC. This time, National “committed” New Zealand to a target of limiting greenhouse gas emissions for the 2008-2012 period to five times the 1990 volume.

Worse still, New Zealand could either reduce emissions or  obtain carbon credits from the international market or from domestic carbon sinks, to meet those “targets”.

The relevant Kyoto Protocol stated;

New Zealand’s emissions management task

•  New Zealand’s initial assigned amount (translating into a corresponding holding of “emission units”) for the commitment period is 365 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is equal to five times the 73 million tonnes that New Zealand emitted in 1990, times 100%, which is New Zealand’s target under Annex B of the Protocol.

•  New Zealand is projected to gain, during the commitment period, additional assigned amount (“removal units”) of 110 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent due to the growth of trees planted on land that has been converted (or reverted) to forest since 1990.

Like a desert mirage, New Zealand’s targets were continually receding under National.

  • Fourth Target

December 2014 – National’s Climate Change Minister Tim Groser, announced New Zealand’s latest emissions reduction target of 5% below 1990 levels by 2020.  This pushed the target date from 2008-2012 to 2020.

  • Fifth Target

July 2015 – National’s Climate Change Minister Tim Groser announced new emissions target, a 30% reduction on 2005 levels, by 2030.

Not only is the target date pushed further out, from 2020, top 2030 – but the baseline is now 2005 instead of 1990.

Five different targets in twentytwo years – each one more watered down; pushing target dates further and further into the distant future.  Which begs two questions;

  1. What will be the next emissions reduction level and  target date? When does it begin to sound patently ridiculous? 2050? 2099? Next century?
  2. How has no one noticed that National has been surreptitiously shifting the goal-posts?

Massey University climate change expert, Professor Ralph Sims, was not impressed with National’s subterfuge;

Prof Sims said 2005 was the year of New Zealand’s highest emissions and the 2030 target gives New Zealand “10 extra years to produce very little extra reduction.”

By Prof Sims’s calculations, based on gross greenhouse emissions set under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand needed to cut emissions by 63,384 kilotonnes under its previous target and by 59,150 KT under the new one.

In essence, he said New Zealand is now doing less than its fair share.

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climate change - global warming - new zealand - greenhouse emissions (6)

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6. The Problem Worsens

Meanwhile, our emissions have continued to worsen, whilst National fiddles;

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NZ's greenhouse gas emissions soar
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New Zealand’s net emissions of greenhouse gases climbed 42 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

Gross emissions, which exclude carbon flows relating to forestry and land use change, rose 21 per cent between 1990 (year zero for carbon accounting purposes) and 2013, to be the fifth highest per capita among 40 developed countries.

Two decades of goal setting; and goal-post moving; and the results have been disappointing, if not predictable.

This has been National’s legacy.

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Addendum1

University’s Environmental Performance Index has highlighted  New Zealand’s falld on international EPI rankings.

In 2008, New Zealand ranked seventh out of 149 nations.

In 2012, our ranking had  dropped seven placings to number fourteen.

Last year, we fell a further two spots, to number sixteen.

As John Key stated seven years ago;

“And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record”.

On every indicator and policy, New Zealand is doing poorly in the field of conservation. We are going backwards.

Addendum2

“I think we never wanted to be a world leader in climate change.” John Key, 12 November 2012

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References

National Party: John Key Speech – Environment Policy Launch

Fairfax media: ‘Carbon neutral’ policy added to scrap heap

NZ Herald:  ETS changes ‘unlikely’ despite pleas

NBR:  ETS may exclude agriculture – Climate Change Minister

Interest.co.nz: See: National would phase in ETS obligations for transport, electricity, industrial sectors; Will review Agriculture in 2014, will only put it in if technology to help is there

Radio NZ: Govt puts off including agriculture in ETS

National Party: Government announces ETS amendments

Radio NZ:  Farmers’ ETS exemption progresses

NZ Herald: Measuring poverty line not a priority – Bennett

Otago Daily Times: Foreign buyers still in market

TV3 News: Govt – Foreign buyers not part of housing problem

Radio NZ: State of the Environment report stopped

NZ Herald: Key defends decision not to stick with Kyoto Protocol

Dominion Post: Government shuns second Kyoto committment

Wikipedia: Fourth National Government of New Zealand

Ministry for the environment:  State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997 (ch5)

Beehive.govt.nz: Environment 2010 Strategy

Otago Daily Times: Groser – NZ’s emission impossible

NZ Herald: NZ commits to post-2020 emissions reduction target

NBR: New 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target far weaker than 2020 goal – climate change expert

NZ Herald: NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions soar

Yale University:  2008 Environmental Performance Index

Yale University:  2012 Environmental Performance Index

Yale University:  2014 Environmental Performance Index

Other Blogs

Green Party: Govt’s emissions reduction target 100% pure spin

Hot Topic: Climate Action Tracker analysis: NZ emissions targets inadequate, not doing our fair share

Hot Topic: Renwick on NZ’s 11% cut: follow us down the path to catastrophe

No Right Turn: Are fossil fuels really an industry we want to promote?

Open Parachute: Talk of “mini ice age” bunkum

The Daily Blog: Using freezing temperatures to claim global warming is a hoax

The Standard:  Emissions targets an admission that we don’t care

The Standard:  It’s just too expensive to act on climate change

The Standard:  Voices of the people on emissions targets and climate change

Additional

NASA Goddard Insititute for Space Studies: Global Climate Modeling

Skeptical Science:  Global Warming in a Nutshell

Previous related blogposts

Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012 – environment

John Key – more pledges, more broken promises?

As predicted: National abandons climate-change responsibilities

National ditches environmental policies

ETS – National continues to fart around

Dear Leader – fibbing again?!

National – what else can possibly go wrong?!

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climate change - global warming - new zealand - greenhouse emissions (03)

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 18 July 2015.

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Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012 – environment

9 January 2013 8 comments

To Whom It May Concern; the following Report Card detail’s Johnny’s achievements over the last four years.

The following contrasts compare four years, ranging from the end of 2008 to the end of this year, 2012.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the Global Financial Crisis impacted harshly on our society and economy, it is also fair to say that National has had the benefits of starting out with a sound economy (surpluses, low unemployment, etc)  in 2008 and four years in office to make good on it’s election promises.

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Environment

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The rhetoric:

What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand.  We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.  And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies.  Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…

… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.

see:  John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.

See: Ibid

The reality:

National’s track record in environmental conservation and protection has been as expected; bad. And getting worse with each policy release.

On the agenda are;

  • Fracking – a process that has been shown overseas to induce small earthquakes; contamination of underground water tables; risks to air quality;  gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals escaping to the surface; mishandling of toxic waste chemicals;  and  health effects on humans and animals.
  • Increased mining actitivity in sensitive ecological  areas such as the Denniston Plateau.
  • Allowing deep sea drilling to go ahead despite New Zealand being woefully unprepared for a major oil spill such as happened in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded. (see:  Deepwater Horizon)
  • A watering down of a proposed fishery protection reserve in the Ross Sea.
  • New Zealand was the only country to vote against  protection marine mammals at the International Union for Conservation of Nature conference.
  • And the abandonment of  New Zealand’s participation in the Kyoto Protocol.

Perhaps the most scurrilous, dishonest act, was National’s gradual backtracking on the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme).

On  May 2008,  John Key stated,

National supports the principle of the ETS and is following the select committee process closely. National has had reservations about the timing of new taxes on motorists and households when there has been no personal tax relief for so long.”

See: ‘Carbon neutral’ policy added to scrap heap

On 8 April 2010, Key confirmed that the ETS would be preserved unchanged,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

See: ETS changes ‘unlikely’ despite pleas

By 6 June 2010, the then-Climate Minister,  Nick Smith announced that whether or not agriculture comes into the emissions trading scheme  in 2015  would depend on technological advances and what other countries do.

See: ETS may exclude agriculture – Climate Change Minister

And on  9 November 2011,  Nick Smith announced,

It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet. The lack of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry. It would also have New Zealand too far ahead of our trading partners on climate change mitigation measures. National will review the position in 2014 and only include agriculture if new technologies are available and more progress is made internationally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

See: National would phase in ETS obligations for transport, electricity, industrial sectors; Will review Agriculture in 2014, will only put it in if technology to help is there

By 3 July 2012, Key began to publicly vacillate,

John Key says the Government will wait for other countries to follow suit before introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme…

See: Govt puts off including agriculture in ETS

And on 20 August 2012, National introduces the “Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012″, which would remove agricultural emmissions indefinitely, and will,

remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.

See: Government announces ETS amendments

It took them four years to do it, with some cunning public manipulation (and outright lies) – but National achieved it’s real agenda,

  1. Watering down the ETS until it was toothless,
  2. Keeping agriculture (the worst emitter of greenhouse gases in NZ) out of the ETS
  3. Abandoning the Kyoto protocol

See previous blogpost for further details: ETS – National continues to fart around

Perhaps New Zealanders don’t quite realise that when National talks of being “blue-green” – they are referring to the colour of money – not conservation.

The response:

National’s response to our growing environmental problems?

Shoot the messenger.

In November 2012, Environmental scientist, Dr Mike Joy, told the unvarnished truth to the world that our “100% Pure” and “Clean & Green” image was largely a myth. Dr Joy blew the cover on our dirty rivers; fouled lakes;  high levels of greenhouse gas emissions from our agricultural sector.

He told the New York Times,

There are almost two worlds in New Zealand. There is the picture-postcard world, and then there is the reality.”

See: New Zealand’s Green Tourism Push Clashes With Realities

National’s Tim Groser did not like that one little bit, and responded with condemnation of Dr Joy,

It’s been used as a stick to beat New Zealand by environmental activists.”

See: Minister lashes out at environmentalists over 100% Pure

And Dear Leader added this confusingly disjointed bit, just to sheet home the message to all critics to ‘STFU’,

It’s like saying ‘McDonald’s, I’m loving it’ – I’m not sure every moment that someone’s eating McDonald’s they’re loving it . . . it’s the same thing with 100% Pure. It’s got to be taken with a bit of a pinch of salt.”

See: IBID

See previous blogposts: When spin doctors go bad, John Key’s “pinch of salt” style of telling the truth

I wonder if Mr Groser or Dear Leader will be swimming or drinking water from any of these rivers,

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No swimming - 52% impure NZ rivers

Full story

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The result:

Meanwhile, Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index highlighted one simple fact; New Zealand has slipped on international EPI rankings.

In 2008, New Zealand ranked seventh out of 149 nations.

(See:  2008 Environmental Performance Index)

In 2012, our ranking dropped seven placings to number fourteen.

(See:  2012 Environmental Performance Index)

On every indicator and policy, New Zealand is doing poorly in the field of conservation. We are going backwards.

New Zealanders need to get their collective heads around one simple fact; giving priority to  environmental protection is not just a “good Greenie idea” (which it is, by the way) – but impacts on our $23 billion tourism industry and our $14.5 billion dairy and meat export industry.

Those who would damage or destroy our environment for short-term monetary gain,  sheer selfishness, or pigheaded ignorance,  are guilty of nothing less than economic treason against our country. (Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Unsworth! See previous related blogpost: Lobbyist stands by ‘ego trip’ email)

Addendum:

The only reason that National has not merited a “F” is that at least they backed down from mining in Schedule 4 Conservation lands, after a public outcry and 50,000-strong protest in Auckland (see: Huge protest says no to mining on conservation land) in May 2010.

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Report_Card_environment

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John Key – more pledges, more broken promises?

13 November 2012 6 comments

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Continued from: As predicted: National abandons climate-change responsibilities

As if John Key’s broken promises on environmental concerns  and reneging on pledges expressing  “National’s commitment to addressing global climate change.  We view this as the most serious environmental challenge of our time was not enough (see:  John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch), Dear Leader has made a new committment to New Zealanders,

Next year New Zealand will name a binding commitment to climate change – it will actually have a physical rate that we’re going to hit – but instead of being what’s called a second commitment period that is likely to run from 2012 to 2020, we’ll be able to set our own rules around that.”

See: Key defends decision not to stick with Kyoto Protocol

This blogger demands to know from John Key why on Earth we should take him at his word?  This is a man who has broken so many pledges; back-tracked on so many policies; and paid lip-service to committments – that it has become a standing joke.

Some of Key’s previous statements on the environment include,

What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand.  We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.  And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies.  Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…

… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.

See: John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.

See: Ibid

Up until April/May 2010, Key maintained National’s supportive position on the ETS,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

But by 9 November, National had completed a 180-degree turn on the the Kyoto Protocol, and completed what can only be deemed as a covert policy to repudiate the ETS and our committments to Kyoto. As Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said,

The Government has decided that from 1 January 2013 New Zealand will be aligning its climate change efforts with developed and developing countries which collectively are responsible for 85% of global emissions. This includes the United States, Japan, China, India, Canada, Brazil, Russia and many other major economies.”

See: New Zealand Commits to UN Framework Convention

John Key has backtracked on the ETS and Kyoto Protocols – and now expects us to take him at his word at new committments announced today?

I don’t think so.

To rationalise National’s abandonment on Kyoto, Key stated,

We are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of world emissions … New Zealand needs to play its part, it is playing its part, it’s already part of the emissions trading scheme and we’ve made quite a lot of other changes – we are there doing things about climate change. But I think we never wanted to be a world leader in climate change.

I don’t think anyone could ever accuse Dear Leader of   “wanting to be a world leader in climate change“. He’s right on that score.

As for his laughable assertion that “New Zealand needs to play its part, it is playing its part, it’s already part of the emissions trading scheme” – that is the same ETS that National has gutted by excluding agriculture from, despite prior pledges to include it by 2015.

By October of this year, National  scrapped the five yearly State of the Environment Reports, despite John Key having endorsed it in September 2008.

See: National scraps crucial environmental report

No one could ever accuse John Key of keeping his pledges.

He is not to be trusted.

Addendum

For a full time-line of National’s slow dismantling of the ETS and backttracking on Kyoto Protocols, see: ETS – National continues to fart around.

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Other blogs

Tim Groser misleads Parliament

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As predicted: National abandons climate-change responsibilities

9 November 2012 11 comments

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Continued from: National ditches environmental policies

As predicted eight days ago, National has abandoned all pretences at meeting our Kyoto Protocol obligations, and cutting back on air pollution,

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Full story

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As this blogger wrote on 1 November, John Key was adamant that National was committed to reducing greenhouse gases, and making environmental concerns a priority for his “government”,

What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand.  We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.  And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies.  Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…

… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.

Our environment isn’t just a bonus.  It’s part of being a Kiwi.  It underpins our enviable quality of life. It gives us an in-built edge over many of our economic rivals.  I’m thinking, for example, of what Australia would do for our abundant water resources.  And, increasingly, New Zealand’s environmental credentials will underpin our prosperity and our trade profile…

… One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas.  We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere…

… Labour has talked big talk on the environment but all too often it has failed to deliver.  

• Labour promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% – but instead they have gone up by 20%.
• Labour promised a target of 90% renewable electricity by 2021 – but the actual proportion of renewables has sunk to an all-time low.
• Labour promised 250,000 hectares of additional trees by 2020 – but the past three years has seen the worst deforestation since records began…

Source:  John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch

Key was emphatic in demanding stronger environmental protections for our country,

I urge you to read our environment policy in full. But let me pick out some highlights.

First, this policy underlines National’s commitment to addressing global climate change.  We view this as the most serious environmental challenge of our time. 

National believes that New Zealand, as a responsible international citizen, and as a country that values our clean, green environment, must act to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This policy sets out our commitment to that goal.

National will set an achievable emissions reduction target for New Zealand.  We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.  50 by 50.  We will write the target into law.

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.

Our approach to future international negotiations will be to work with fellow countries on finding a pragmatic way to include large emitters like China, the United States, India, and Brazil.  It’s clear that the absence of these large emitters from any post-Kyoto agreement would severely compromise global progress on this issue.

In order to achieve domestic emission reduction, National will pursue sound, practical environmental policies.  We want to reduce emissions in ways that result in least cost to society and the economy.

To that end, we consider a well-designed, carefully balanced emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be the best tool available for efficiently reducing emissions across the economy.

Source:  Ibid

Up until April/May 2010, Key maintained National’s supportive position on the ETS,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

But as New Zealanders have now come to expect, what National sez – and what National does, are often two completely different things.

If one was sufficiently uncharitable, one could say that National was highly dishonest as it back-tracked on it’s committments. But seeing as this blogger is not uncharitable, let’s just call them lying bastards and settle at that.

By  November 2011 Environment Minister Nick Smith announced,

… It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet.

And true to word, in August of this year,  National introduced legislation to remove agriculture and the egg industry from the ETS, entirely.

By October of this year, National had scrapped five yearly State of the Environment Reports, despite John Key having endorsed it in September 2008.

See: National scraps crucial environmental report

Today, National completed what can only be deemed as a covert policy to repudiate the ETS and our committments to Kyoto. As Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said,

“The Government has decided that from 1 January 2013 New Zealand will be aligning its climate change efforts with developed and developing countries which collectively are responsible for 85% of global emissions. This includes the United States, Japan, China, India, Canada, Brazil, Russia and many other major economies.”

See: New Zealand Commits to UN Framework Convention

Which is an outrageous admission from a National minister, and makes a mockery of  Key’s fuzzy-wuzzy words just four years ago.

Groser went on to state,

 “I want to emphasise that NZ stands 100% behind its existing Kyoto Protocol Commitment. We are on track to achieving our target – indeed we are forecasting a projected surplus of 23.1 million tonnes. Furthermore, we will remain full members of the Kyoto Protocol. There is no question of withdrawing. The issue was always different: where would we take our next commitment – under the Kyoto Protocol or under the Convention with the large majority of economies? We have decided that it is New Zealand’s best interests to do the latter.

If  New Zealand was “on track to achieving our target – indeed we are forecasting a projected surplus of 23.1 million tonnes” – then why withdraw from the Second Kyoto Protocols?

This makes no sense unless National is continuing to bullshit the public.

This is another broken pledge from John Key, and a failure by National to meet it’s own committments.

Key and National will be held to account at the next election. Broken promises are not a sound basis on which to base an election campaign.

Addendum

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Full story

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National’s media release is headed, “New Zealand Commits to UN Framework Convention” – as if National was undertaking meaningful committments to environmental protection.

It is a laughable attempt to ‘spin’ National’s broken committments in a positive light.

The truly offensive thing here is not that John Key’s credibility is now shot to hell; nor that National has shown itself to be utterly untrustworthy – but that the Nat’s Party (taxpayer funded) spin-doctors thought that the public was so stupid that we wouldn’t notice.

All they’ve done is drawn more attention to their lies, broken promises, and secret agendas.

Tossers.

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Sources

Government shuns second Kyoto committment

New Zealand Commits to UN Framework Convention

Additional

Fairfax Media: AgResearch stalls ‘damaging’ report

Radiolive: Nats are sacrificing our environment… for what?

Other blogs

Tumeke: John Key’s invisible New Zealand

Truthdig: The Fallacy Behind Environmental Protection and Economic Growth

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National ditches environmental policies

1 November 2012 14 comments

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Continued from: ETS – National continues to fart around

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Continuing an analysis of National’s track record on environmental concerns…

“Green Key”

From a speech given by John Key in September, 2008 – about three months prior to being elected Prime Minister,

What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand.  We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other.  And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies.  Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…

… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.

Our environment isn’t just a bonus.  It’s part of being a Kiwi.  It underpins our enviable quality of life. It gives us an in-built edge over many of our economic rivals.  I’m thinking, for example, of what Australia would do for our abundant water resources.  And, increasingly, New Zealand’s environmental credentials will underpin our prosperity and our trade profile…

… One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas.  We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere…

… Labour has talked big talk on the environment but all too often it has failed to deliver.  

• Labour promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% – but instead they have gone up by 20%.
• Labour promised a target of 90% renewable electricity by 2021 – but the actual proportion of renewables has sunk to an all-time low.
• Labour promised 250,000 hectares of additional trees by 2020 – but the past three years has seen the worst deforestation since records began…

Source:  John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch

Key went on to say,

I urge you to read our environment policy in full. But let me pick out some highlights.

First, this policy underlines National’s commitment to addressing global climate change.  We view this as the most serious environmental challenge of our time

National believes that New Zealand, as a responsible international citizen, and as a country that values our clean, green environment, must act to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This policy sets out our commitment to that goal.

National will set an achievable emissions reduction target for New Zealand.  We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.  50 by 50.  We will write the target into law.

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.

Our approach to future international negotiations will be to work with fellow countries on finding a pragmatic way to include large emitters like China, the United States, India, and Brazil.  It’s clear that the absence of these large emitters from any post-Kyoto agreement would severely compromise global progress on this issue.

In order to achieve domestic emission reduction, National will pursue sound, practical environmental policies.  We want to reduce emissions in ways that result in least cost to society and the economy.

To that end, we consider a well-designed, carefully balanced emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be the best tool available for efficiently reducing emissions across the economy.

National’s pledge to  “consider a well-designed, carefully balanced emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be the best tool available for efficiently reducing emissions across the economy” has turned into a farce.

Up until April/May 2010, Key maintained National’s position on the ETS,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

“Greenish-grey Key”

But by  November 2011 Environment Minister Nick Smith announced,

… It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet.

On August of this year,  National introduced legislation to remove agriculture and the egg industry from the ETS, entirely,

…remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.

See previous blogpost for full timeline: ETS – National continues to fart around

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Full story

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So there we have it.  From noble promises made in 2008 – to the abandonment of agriculture being included in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Another broken promise from a broken “government”.

Did John Key ever really intend to include agriculture  in the Emissions Trading Scheme? I suspect not. As with so many of  National’s fine-sounding promises, it was all electioneering. They told us what we wanted to hear.

“Coal-black Key”

As if the gradual, covert,  watering down the ETS was not enough – there are now indications that National intends to abandon New Zealand’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol,

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Full story

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Key seemed more supportive of the Kyoto Protocols  in 2008,

National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto

So let me be very clear today: National is serious about reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.  We will ensure that a New Zealand ETS is introduced on 1 January 2010.

As usual, John Key and the National Party have been big on rhetoric and promises – but poor on action. Sadly for New Zealand,  the reality of their policies has been a sustained undermining of  environmental protections.

From La La Land…

To really highlight what National thinks of environmental concerns, one need only consider their plans to scrap the  vital State of the Environment Report.

There is an element of absurdity  to this issue that is difficult to fathom,

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Source

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From the same speech John Key gave in September 2008,

Environmental management has been further compromised by the poor performance of the Environment Ministry and the lack of independent monitoring of New Zealand’s progress towards environmental goals.

National believes Kiwis are ready to do things differently.  We want to strengthen the incentives for co-operation in the pursuit of shared environmental goals. 

So, National will invite stakeholders to work with us to reach agreement on up to 20 national environment goals to be achieved by specific dates, at the latest by 2030. To give those goals some real resonance we will introduce a new Environmental Reporting Act.  This will require the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to conduct independent five-yearly State of the Environment Reports.

This is the same pledge, to demand independent five-yearly State of the Environment Reports, that the Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, now dismisses,

Waiting five years to measure the state of our environment might be good enough for the opposition parties but not this Government.”

See: National scraps crucial environmental report

The absurd irony is  that a National Minister is dismissing a policy that her boss – the Prime Minister – advocated four years ago! The five-yearly State of the Environment Reports was not Opposition policy – it was John Key’s idea!!!

This is Orwellian re-writing of history at it’s most ludicrous and laughable: dismissing National Party initiatives by blaming them on opposition parties!

Folks, New Zealand politics doesn’t get more Monty Pythonesque than this!

100% 48% Pure!

As a result of  National’s covert disregard for our environment, ongoing poor environmental policies and actions have become manifest in ways that are becoming harder and harder to hide from public attention,

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Source

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What New Zealanders fail to comprehend is that the degration of our environment doesn’t just mean we’ll be able to swim less and less in our once-clean rivers – but that the rest of the world will soon begin to realise that our “100% Pure” and “Clean & Green” image” is bogus.

That’s when our reputation for environmental protection will be revealed as a sham and our exports for  primary produce will begin to be affected.

How long will it be before international media turn their gaze upon our slowly degrading environment?

How long before our rivers are as polluted as China’s?

And how long before international markets turn away from our products, or pay us less for our produce?

If we’re going to treat our rivers as toilets, why should tourists come here to New Zealand?

If anything has demonstrated Dear Leader’s change-of-heart from 2008, it is his ‘sudden’  conversion from Environmental Champion to backer of the minining lobby.

Green Key is gone.

Coal-black Key has arrived.

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Full story

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Track records, broken records

In 2008,  John Key encouraged,

“I urge you to read our environment policy in full.”

So do I –  Speech: Environment Policy Launch

In doing so you, the reader, will find out for yourself just how dishonest Key and National have been, and how badly our environment – which forms the economic backbone of this country – is now being systematically degraded for narrow, short-term gain.

True to form, even as John Key smiled benignly upon the country – he has let New Zealanders down.

And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.” – John Key, 6 September 2008

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Additional

Fairfax Media: AgResearch stalls ‘damaging’ report

Radiolive: Nats are sacrificing our environment… for what?

Other blogs

Tumeke: John Key’s invisible New Zealand

Truthdig: The Fallacy Behind Environmental Protection and Economic Growth

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ETS – National continues to fart around

28 October 2012 30 comments

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Beginning of the ETS

September 2008

Labour introduces and passes the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008.

As David Parker said, on 10 September 2008,

For the first time we will start factoring in the true cost of greenhouse gas emissions into our economy. This is in line with developments in the rest of the world.

The sooner we get on top of this challenge, the sooner we can reap the benefits of providing low carbon goods and services that are attractive to affluent overseas markets. There is much to be gained by grasping this opportunity.

While there will be extra costs for some sectors, I am confident that the support the government is providing both to households and to businesses will smooth the transition we absolutely must make, if we are to play our part in the global struggle against climate change.”

Source

National’s Track Record

13 May 2007

In particular I’m going to speak about the biggest environmental challenge of our time: global climate change.

The National Party will ensure that New Zealand acts decisively to confront this challenge.

The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is real and it’s threatening the planet. There are some armchair sceptics out there, but I’m not one of them…

… National is committed to growing our economy. Confronting climate change will be a vital part of the policy mix for fuelling that growth…

… In the decades ahead, peoples’ perceptions around climate change will affect the brand image of New Zealand and its exports. New Zealand must take credible steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or risk becoming a trading pariah…

… National will have policies that reflect the fact that living on a diet of carbon will be increasingly bad – bad for the world and bad for our economy. We will have policy that encourages ‘climate friendly’ choices like windmills, hydro power and tree planting, and reduces the desire for ‘climate unfriendly’ behaviours, like burning coal…

… National will bring all Kiwis – industry, energy producers, farmers, mums and dads – closer to a shared and well-understood goal. We need to be united in our pursuit of a ’50 by 50′ target.

Source

6 May 2008

Mr Key says,

National supports the principle of the ETS and is following the select committee process closely. National has had reservations about the timing of new taxes on motorists and households when there has been no personal tax relief for so long.”

Source

8 April 2010

Prime Minister John Key rejects demands  to amend the  Emissions Trading Scheme before it takes effect on the energy and transport sectors in July despite calls from business groups, farmers, and ACT.

Key tells reporters at the launch of the Global Research Alliance’s inaugural meeting on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

Source

24 May 2010

John Key states that  there is “no chance” New Zealand will follow Australia and cancel the Emissions Trading Scheme and rejects assertions it will impact on New Zealanders’ pockets,

The question is for a household, are they prepared to pay $3 a week for the insurance premium of our environment? I think the answer to that is ‘yes’.”

He adds,

Of the 38 countries that signed the Kyoto protocol, 29 of them have an ETS. All 29 have almost double the cost that we have.”

Source

6 June 2010

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith announces that whether or not agriculture comes into the emissions trading scheme  in 2015  will depend on technological advances and what other countries do.

Source

9 November 2011

Environment Minister Nick Smith announces,

The scheme currently steps up on 1 January 2013 to a full obligation for the transport, electricity and industrial sectors. National’s intention is to phase this in three equal steps on 1 January 2013, 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2015 as recommended by the ETS Review Panel…

… It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet. The lack of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry. It would also have New Zealand too far ahead of our trading partners on climate change mitigation measures. National will review the position in 2014 and only include agriculture if new technologies are available and more progress is made internationally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “

Source

19 November 2011

National plans to  delay  implementation of the ETS until after a Select Committee review is completed, according to National-ACT coalition deal.

Key states that  he believes human-induced climate change is real and it’s still possible National will pass an amended ETS into law before next October.”

Source

2 July 2012

National announces that farmers will not have to buy carbon credits to offset livestock and pasture emissions until at least 2015.

Source

3 July 2012

National announces that  the two-for-one carbon credit scheme for emitters such as the  oil and electricity industry  will remain in place instead of ending  this year (2012).

Source

John Key says the Government will wait for other countries to follow suit before introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme…

…The Government says it will leave agriculture out of the ETS until at least 2015, despite 47% of the country’s emissions coming from that sector

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser told Tadio NZ’s  Morning Report on Tuesday there is no point in New Zealand leading the way if other countries such as the United States and China are doing nothing.” – Radio NZ

Source

6 July 2012

John Key announces four amendments to Emissions Trading Scheme saying that,

New Zealand is still the only country outside Europe [see comment 24 May] to have a comprehensive ETS in place, and we’re on track to meet our Kyoto obligations for 2008-12. “

Source

The four changes are,

  • Keeping the ‘one-for-two’ obligation in place until after this year. This means participants in the scheme will continue to surrender units for half the carbon they emit;
  • Maintaining the $25 ‘fixed-price option’ until at least 2015, which caps the price firms will face if carbon prices begin to rise internationally;
  • Introducing off-setting for pre-1990 forest land owners, and allocating the full second tranche of compensation where off-setting is not taken; and
  • Leaving agricultural emissions out of the ETS until at least 2015.

Source

So much for Key’s statement on 8 April.

20 August 2012

National introduces  “Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012”, which will remove agricultural emmissions indefinitely, and will,

remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.

Source

27 October 2012

National’s  “Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012” passes second reading by 1-vote majority, supported by National, ACT, and United Future.

Source

Conclusions

National’s rejection of the ETS for the farming industry and removing egg producers from the ETS is now complete.

It must be clear to practically everyone by now that despite National’s ongoing  “firm assurances” from May 2007 to May 2010, that they would support and maintain  an Emissions Trading Scheme, that their real agenda all along was entirely the opposite.

The entry of agriculture into the ETS  was accepted;  “reviewed”; postponed; and then cancelled altogether. Only a procedural law change now remains to make it fully legal.

It has taken four years to achieve it, but National’s pledges to commit to an ETS are now shown to be the lies that they are.

During National’s four years in office, they have broken several promises and the weakening of the ETS is simply one more on the list. It also further highlights  John Key’s ability to say one thing – whilst knowing full well that he has no intention of fulfilling committments, or will do completely the opposite.

Remember what Key told reporters at the launch of the Global Research Alliance’s inaugural meeting on the ETS, on 8 April 2010,

I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”

Key’s pledge that agriculture would enter the ETS in 2015 has been broken, and our Prime Minister further shown up as the untrustworthy, lying,  manipulator that a growing number of critics are labelling him.

If there is one lesson that National has learnt from our recent history is that if you’re going to break promises – do it slowly so no one notices.

Unfortunately for John Key and his cronies, New Zealanders have noticed.

Update

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Full story

Acknowledgement: Kay

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Unsurprising and inevitable, I guess.  This was National’s agenda from Day One.

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Sources

Scoop media: John Key Speech – Climate Change Target (13 May 2007)

Beehive Press Prelease: Historic climate change legislation passes (10 September 2008)

Parliament: Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008 (25 September 2008)

NZ Energy & Environment Business Week: National-Act Coalition Deal Puts Emissions Trading Legislation On Hold (19 November 2008)

NBR:  Govt keeping open mind on agriculture ETS inclusion (26 May 2010)

NBR: ETS may exclude agriculture – Climate Change Minister (6 June 2010)

National Party: Policy 2011 – Environment & Climate Change (2011)

Fairfax Media: PM accused of taking sides on mining (22 March 2012)

National Party: Government announces ETS amendments (2 July 2012)

National Party: Doing our fair share on climate change (6 July 2012)

NZ Herald: Carbon credit price crash could force sales (25 October 2012)

Radio NZ: Farmers’ ETS exemption progresses (26 October 2012)

Additional

Wikipedia: New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

Other blogs

The Worlds Worst Emissions Trading Scheme

Abdicating our global responsibility

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