Dare we hope?

The Sunday Star times reports that New Zealand has been tipped to quit the Kyoto Protocol.

Kiwiblog points out that isn’t the case. We’ve committed to the five-year period which ends in 10 weeks.

There is no international agreement for any commitment after that.

There is growing speculation the Government’s silence is because it could save face internationally by waiting for big players like China and the US to refuse to sign up to the second Kyoto round, before following suit.

Of course, as it would be economic and environmental madness to have an agreement without them (or India).

But not unilaterally agreeing to a future binding commitment, is vastly different to walking away from a current commitment. If reporters can not understand this, then here’s an analogy.

If I lend you $1,000 and you agree to pay me back $200 a year, and then after five years you have paid me back, are you walking away from your commitment if you don’t keep giving me money in the future?

But OM Financial carbon broker Nigel Brunnel thinks New Zealand will sign up to new commitments in Doha, but then delay ratifying them. That could buy time to pursue aligning with a group of Asia-Pacific partners, and adopting voluntary emissions targets outside of Kyoto.

That fits into two of the Government’s climate-change themes, New Zealand doing its share, and not damaging competitiveness by enforcing heavy carbon payments on businesses when trading partners like the US and China do not.

Because of that, about 85 per cent of world carbon emissions are not covered by international reduction agreements, and it is said in government circles that China’s emissions increase daily by New Zealand’s entire annual carbon output.

It is simple. Any agreement which doesn’t include binding targets by China is worthless in an environmental sense.

The Kyoto Protocol was the triumph of politics and bureaucracy over science and common sense.

It was riddled with inconsistencies for example the liability for some products fell on producers, for others on consumers.

It also used a blanket approach which took no account of individual countries’ differences. The clause which required trees to be replanted where previous ones had been cut down might have made sense if the aim was to preserve native forests. But it made no sense in New Zealand where it might be better to use flat land where pine trees had been felled for pasture and plant trees on steeper land where they would prevent erosion.

It also took a local approach to a global problem which could have perverse consequences. New Zealand has a very high proportion of carbon emissions from animals but we’re also leaders in efficient production of food. Nothing would be achieved for the environment if costs here led to lower production here and higher production from less efficient farmers elsewhere.

So the SST is wrong. We’re not quitting Kyoto but dare we hope New Zealand won’t make any commitment for a second phase and instead put scientific efforts and money into initiatives that really will help the environment without wrecking the economy?

2 Responses to Dare we hope?

  1. Roger says:

    So, when will we see the current price of carbon reflected in energy pricing? The whole thing is a rort. The sooner it’s dumped the quicker we can have transparency into our real international obligations and how energy is priced.

    Like

  2. Bulaman says:

    This how climate science works..

    It is late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in Mattawa asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.

    Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets of the tribe. When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the winter was going to be like.

    Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

    But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the Weather Network and asked, “Is the coming winter going to be cold?”

    “It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold”, the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

    So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

    A week later, he called the Weather Network again. “Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?”

    “Yes”, the man at the weather service again replied, “it’s going to be a very cold winter.”

    The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

    Two weeks later, the chief called the Weather Network again. “Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?”

    “Absolutely”, the man replied. “It’s looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we’ve ever seen.”

    “How can you be so sure?” the chief asked.

    The weatherman replied, “Because the Indians are collecting a shitload of firewood!”

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: