A correction to my last post, Craig Foss has not been given Climate Change Issues, it has gone to Tim Groser. He already has the International Climate Change Negotiations portfolio and is familiar with the portfolio. He also already has a letter from me asking for assurances re the treatment of livestock emissions in any new international agreement. I have not had a response yet.
Word is that he is not so keen to renew Kyoto but instead sign us up to the other option agreed at Durban which is to sign up to a treaty which will have legal force by 2020.
Either way we are in trouble. We can not meet either commitment. Our emissions increase every year, all the politicians can do and are doing is to adopt short term measures to encourage the planting of trees and fudging the figures using net and gross emission figures at different times to give the impression that these forestry removals are achieving something when in fact they are not. They will not save us from the financial burden of these international agreements.
And the last thing the politicians do is set ridiculous targets without any plan whatsoever as to how to achieve them. The strategy seems to be that targets set way in the future give the impression we are doing something when in fact we are not and more importantly they do not scare the voters. The other advantage of distant future targets is that the politicians know that they won’t be in power in 2025 or 2050 so the fact that these targets won’t be met will not be their problem. It will be ours though because there will be financial consequences; we will be the ones paying the penalties incurred under agreements with legal force signed on our behalf by Tim Groser. He needs to be reminded that actions he takes for short term political expediency will cost us dearly in the future.
I have expressed my displeasure to him that we are all now paying for the actions of a previous National government which signed Kyoto and that one mistake could be forgivable but not two.
John Key is keen for NZ to sign up to a second commitment period but his understanding of the implications of this are on a par with those of Keisha Castle Hughes and Lucy Lawless so Tim Groser should be able to talk him out of that if he chooses, although Groser did say this in Durban which is a little worrying.
New Zealand is calling for a “Kyoto plus” deal in which the U.S., China, India and other big greenhouse-gas emitters give stronger assurances that they will live up to their voluntary pledges to curb emissions by 2020, Groser, said in an interview in Durban.
Countries that are considering whether to stay in Kyoto need such guarantees to politically justify a decision to remain in the pact, Groser said.
Well China, India and other big emitters have given that assurance and the Europeans have committed to another Kyoto. So what will Tim do? I told him I could think of no patriotic NZer who would want NZ to sign up to binding commitments with financial penalties attached in return for others just giving assurances on voluntary pledges with no financial penalties for not meeting them. I will let you know when I get a response.
I personally think that politicians should not be allowed to commit NZ to international agreements without consulting us. That is what I asked for. I also asked that any future agreements do not include livestock emissions on the basis that they are harmless. Tim Groser has as much as acknowledged to me that the current approach to livestock emissions is not appropriate. He actually said that “NZ advocates for an appropriate approach to agricultural emissions in the next agreement” I take that to mean that the current approach is not appropriate, otherwise why would NZ be advocating for it? Is there any other way to take his statement? If there isn’t then such an admission is promising. More than we ever got from Nick Smith.
I hope you all have a lovely Easter