Analysis of the IPCC

Jeff Id has a number of well-researched posts on the IPCC over at The Air Vent, if you want to see a critical analysis of the organisation.

Family Party response to National Climate Change policy

The National Climate Change policy restates their commitment to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) within 9 months, but never once mentions what this trading scheme would be expected to achieve. It is an environmental policy that hardly mentions the environment.

The policy describes an ETS that would be less expensive than that proposed by Labour, but as a result would be expected to achieve less for the environment. As Labour’s scheme would achieve no significant emissions reductions according to Greenpeace, National’s policy can be expected to achieve less than nothing, if that is possible.

But it will still impose significant costs on New Zealand families and businesses, in order to achieve nothing.

Then if human-induced climate change turns out to be incorrect, which a number of scientists are suggesting, this money would have been completely wasted.

It is good that National recognise the need to engage major emitters like China if global emissions are to be reduced, and that they are wishing to “defend our economy”. If climate change does turn out to be correct, and we have to deal with the effects of it in coming years, we would need a strong economy to cope. But their idea of defending seems to be not damaging it quite as much as Labour would. This is not how we define defending.

An Emissions Trading Scheme would be the largest change to our economy since Rogernomics in the ’80s, and we will not approach it lightly. It would hit agriculture particularly hard as agriculture is responsible for 48.5% of NZ’s emissions but a much smaller percentage of GDP. So half NZ’s emissions (the half that is arguably the most difficult to reduce) must be paid for by this small sector of the economy. Many farmers are struggling to pay the bills at the moment, an ETS could put these farmers out of business.

The Family Party would have a Royal Commission of Enquiry into Global Warming, to determine whether humans are in fact causing global warming, and if we are, what response is appropriate for New Zealand to take. This approach allows our policies to be based firmly on the best advice of scientists and economists. We would also reduce costs for businesses and support the export sector, while National is proposing extra costs for businesses and would damage many exporters.

National needs to justify scientifically that an ETS is necessary, that it would actually help the environment, and that it would be affordable. None of these three vital questions are addressed in their policy.

National’s policy is vote-winning rhetoric, not a plan for New Zealand’s future.

Email to Greens on ETS

This is the email I have sent to the Greens on the ETS. They do seem genuinely interested in figuring out how to vote, because it is a tough decision for them. Either way they’ll be disagreeing with half their supporters.

I would recommend you vote against the ETS:

Assuming human-induced global warming is correct:

– It won’t help the environment much if at all, even according to Greenpeace.

– It will cost a horrific amount of money for something that does no good. This money could be used to actually help the environment.

– It could force businesses off-shore, probably to Asia, where they will use coal for electricity. It may actually increase global emissions as a result.

– It will depress our economy while favouring foreign countries like China. China is a major military power ruled by a communist government, and may turn out to be one of the largest threats to international peace over the next few decades. We should not be giving them money to strengthen their military at the expense of the West.

Assuming human-induced global warming is incorrect (it is increasingly disputed, each week some new piece of evidence against it seems to come to light), or is correct but we cannot stop it through emissions reductions:

– This certainly won’t help the environment, as it would be based on a false premise.

– It would cost money, force businesses off-shore and depress our economy completely pointlessly.

Best wishes making this decision. I know you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, you’ll annoy half your supporters if you vote either way, so you’re in a rough situation on this one. Stick by what is best for the environment and the economy, and vote against it. Think practically rather than wondering which way would get you more votes (you’d never figure out which way would give you more votes anyway). That way you’ll make the best decision for the country.

It will be very interesting to see how they vote on Tuesday, as it will show whether they are serious about helping the environment (and vote against it), or are more interested in passing green-sounding legislation simply to gain votes (vote for it).

Greens ask for opinions on ETS

The Green party is asking for people’s opinions on how they should vote on the Emissions Trading Scheme. Even though my gut feeling is that it is just an attempt to gain more votes, either as:

  • A publicity stunt to make them sound like they are listening to the public (even though they completely ignored the public over the smacking legislation), with the decision already made in a back room somewhere… OR
  • An attempt to figure out which way they decide will annoy less of the population and so lose them less votes…

… I still feel it is a nice change for a political party to be actually asking for input from the public. Email them your thoughts, if they do actually listen it might delay the ETS until after the election. Then the issue will be making sure National doesn’t introduce one.

More info here.

Court case against ETS

Labour is being challenged in court on the Emissions Trading Scheme. Mr Barry Walker is trying to prevent the government passing the ETS into law this year, because the evidence about global warming is so heavily disputed.

Good on him! We need an independant study into the science before emptying our wallets on this issue. The problem however is that Mr Walker is only taking Labour to court. Both Labour and National are proposing to put in place Emissions Trading Schemes. Even if Mr Walker is successful it will not prevent National putting one in place after the election like they are promising to do, although the case might make them pay more attention to the science.

The only way to prevent an ETS being put in place after the election is to ensure parties are in parliament that will oppose it and look into the science before spending more money. The only party promising to do this is The Family Party.

Family Party response to Nats energy policy

The National Party Energy policy is designed to toe a fine line between the desires of industry and the desires of the environmental lobby, in an attempt to gain votes from both groups.

The proposal to remove the ban on thermal generation is a practical response to the reality that New Zealand needs a secure electricity supply. However the promise to introduce an Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) within nine months is aimed at placating the environmental lobby, and does not consider either the severe economic consequences of such a scheme, or whether it would actually help the environment.

The Family Party would establish a Royal Commission of Enquiry into Global Warming, to look at the science from both sides of the debate and decide whether or not humans are actually causing global warming, and if we are, what response would be appropriate. If the Royal Commission finds global warming is incorrect, or that it is correct but we cannot stop it through emissions reductions, then we will be able to ditch both the ETS and the thermal generation ban, saving NZ money and not harming the environment. If it finds we should be reducing emissions, there will be strong justification for such policies. Either way, we would know exactly where we stand and could proceed with practical policies that actually help the environment.

This enquiry could be completed within the nine months National is proposing to put in place an ETS, so would not delay implementation of the scheme if this were deemed necessary.

The Family Party is also concerned about the proposal to end ‘frivolous and vexatious objections’ to RMA applications. We understand the sentiment but are concerned about which objections National would consider ‘frivolous.’ Does their interpretation involve government steamrolling private property rights whenever they consider a project is of national significance? It would be good to streamline the RMA, but the right of affected parties to object needs to be protected.

We welcome however the proposal to simplify building consent requirements for solar water heating installations.