Looking to long term

New Zealand has been criticised for its decision to opt out of a further commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. But, Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser and Associate Minister Simon Bridges say in doing so they are looking to the long term.

“While the formal agreements are extremely technical, the bigger picture both internationally and specifically for New Zealand is clear. Internationally, the key requirement has been to refocus political and negotiating attention beyond the Kyoto Protocol to a more comprehensive agreement that is capable of dealing with the real environmental problem – the vast bulk of emissions that would never have been covered by Kyoto.

“That figure is 86% and will reach 90% of total global emissions in a few years. It is a matter of simple arithmetic that the only agreement that makes environmental sense long term is an agreement that deals with the bulk of emissions, not an increasingly small part of global emissions,” Mr Groser says.

The Ministers added that they were pleased agreement had been reached on amendments to the Kyoto Protocol that will allow European countries and Australia to continue to use its provisions for the next 8 years, starting from 2013. The Ministers confirmed that New Zealand was on track to fulfilling its own Kyoto commitment for the period 2008-2012 but that the next commitment would be made outside Kyoto.

“This is a long-term problem and we have a long-term strategic approach to deal with it. Internationally, all the focus should now be beyond Kyoto, which up to now has dominated negotiating and political attention, in spite of its decreasing coverage of global emissions. Domestically, we have a world-class emissions trading scheme which we have maintained at current settings in the recent review. At current, deeply depressed international carbon prices its economic impact is low but the Government has no intention of forcing NZ businesses and households to pay higher than world prices in the current difficult international economic climate,” Mr Groser says.

The Ministers noted that it would take some time for international carbon markets to absorb the implications of what had been agreed at Doha and they expected New Zealand carbon markets would be no exception. What was clear, however, was that New Zealand would continue to have access to existing Kyoto carbon markets at least until 2015. What happened after that would be deeply influenced by progress made in negotiating the more comprehensive international Climate Change Agreement as well as progress made in on-going discussions to build regional linkages amongst carbon markets.

“Meeting the real challenge of global climate change has been aptly described as the most complex international negotiating problem the global community has yet tackled. We have every expectation that further progress will be made, but it will be slow, incremental and controversial. New Zealanders should be deeply sceptical of quick fixes and piece-meal solutions. But we are confident that New Zealand has the right strategic long-term approach.”

“This is a long-term problem and we have a long-term strategic approach to deal with it. Internationally, all the focus should now be beyond Kyoto, which up to now has dominated negotiating and political attention, in spite of its decreasing coverage of global emissions. Domestically, we have a world-class emissions trading scheme which we have maintained at current settings in the recent review. At current, deeply depressed international carbon prices its economic impact is low but the Government has no intention of forcing NZ businesses and households to pay higher than world prices in the current difficult international economic climate,” Mr Groser says.

The Kyoto agreement has lots of flaws, not least that it deals with only about 15% of global emissions.

New Zealand is doing more than its share in dealing with the problem and the decision to continue outside Kyoto doesn’t change that.

23 Responses to Looking to long term

  1. robertguyton says:

    Groser and Key are grossly irresponsible in doing this. They are being pilloried internationally and mocked here in New Zealand for their pretense at responsibility around climate change. Few are fooled by Groser’s rhetoric. You may be. Gravedodger doubtless. Pdm for sure, but not those with a wider view.

  2. Andrei says:

    Groser and Key are grossly irresponsible in doing this.

    au contraire mon ami an all to rare display of sanity

  3. Viv K says:

    The consequences of climate change will be long term, however the problem is serious and extremely urgent and action is needed in the short term. As the National government wants to drill for oil & mine lignite, how on earth can you claim NZ is” doing more than it’s share” to deal with the problem? Sounds like the Nats want to make the problem worse.
    Yes I know there is work being done on agricultural emissions & that’s great, but that is not a substitute for gutting the ETS, building more roads and increasing fossil fuel use.
    I recommend you actually read more about the problem of global warming & ocean acidification and then you might understand why more must be done NOW.

  4. robertguyton says:

    How’s that research into agricultural emissions going, Viv?
    It’s a sop, in my opinion.
    Sallyco – I never open and watch video I don’t know the intent of. Perhaps a synopsis from you before I try it?

  5. Viv says:

    Well Ele always brings it up when discussing climate change, seems to be what she suggests is NZ’s world leading contribution to the problem. As we haven’t heard how it’s going, will presume it’s at drawing board stage.

  6. JC says:

    Indeed. Officially there has been no global warming for 16 years. The enormous reserves of gas will power us for hundreds of years and the US alone has shale oil equal to all the oil used globally for the last 100 years.

    Whatever will the doomsayers do now?


  7. Viv says:

    JC you are wrong about there being no warming for 16 years. There is also a problem with ocean acidification. Shale gas is still a fossil fuel. If you were told by your doctor you had diabetes and needed to cut down on sugar would you tell your doctor they were a doomsayer? Would you deny it because the diagnosis was based on blood tests only and you felt fine and liked sugary foods and didn’t want to cut down and make lifestyle changes? If you did, as a taxpayer I might be hacked off at funding your bypass surgery and dialysis later, because you ignored the advice of the doctor. Expect that sort of reaction from the next generation who will be very pissed off at the lack of effective action on reducing C02 emissions.

  8. sallyco says:

    The ineffectual walking dead Kyoto protocol, will lurch on for a few more years, toothless and brain dead. One day the Viv’s and RG’s will wake up and realise they have been conned.

    It is the bureaucrats in the diplomacy industry who are the only real winners – with their endless rounds of ‘carbon spewing’ conferences, where no agreement, ensures their jobs, jobs, jobs.

  9. JC says:

    “JC you are wrong about there being no warming for 16 years. There is also a problem with ocean acidification.”

    The evidence is clear enough that there’s been a halt to warming:


    Thats right in line with comments made in the Climategate emails where one email says it was a “travesty” that they didn’t know why there was no warming. The global temps might stay the same, they might go down or up.. either way the models are out of line with empirical data.

    As for acidification.. well, BS. The neutral value between acid and alkaline is 7 on the PH Scale. The value for the worlds oceans at the time of the Industrial revolution was 8.16, ie alkaline, today the value is 8.07, ie still alkaline by a huge margin.

    “Shale gas is still a fossil fuel.”

    With less than half the CO2 impact, which is why the US has reduced its CO2 to levels not seen since about 1992.

    As for doctor/diabetes example, the comparison to Global Warming is the doc asks you some questions about your diet, puts the information into a model and tells you that you have diabetes and there’s no need to get tested for it because the model cannot be wrong.
    Of course the chances are you don’t have diabetes because it’s a much more complicated disease than just diet.

    Thats about the state of climatology.. we don’t have enough facts to make the models reliable and continuing research tends to show that while humans have had an impact the current warm period in not unique being probably as warm and warmer several times in the past few thousand years.. as for CO2 the the most lush and widespread forests we have had was when it was 10 times higher than today.

    You want to help cool the world.. plant at least 3 million hectares of the tussock land in the South Island.


  10. David Winter says:

    JC, a tip: The Daily Mail is not a reputable source of science (or really any other) news. That article is amazingly poor, and seems to base its claim on the fact one monthly average from 16 years ago was the same a recent monthly average, while ignoring all the data in between.

  11. Andrei says:

    Just a tip the politicians of the IPCC are an even more unreliable source of science.

    Politicians of course are born liars and charletans, scuzz buckets always looking for ways to parasite upon the peasantry.

    Why anybody would believe that the political class can in anyway shape or form control the climate is beyond me.

    And even if they could why would we trust them to do it, they would only use their power over the weather to screw us all.

    My friend the climate is changing, it always has and it always will, GET OVER IT, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, it is the nature of the world we live in

    Eventually humanity will be confronted by a challenge it cannot overcome and we will go the way of the dodo – THIS WILL HAPPEN! but it is contingent upon us to continue to fight to survive, to raise our children well to be able to confront the challenges they will face, whatever they may be.

    All this whining about “climate change” and the solution for which according to the vapid elites is to make us all poorer – everyone excpet for themselves of course, and this is both moronic and dangerous.

  12. Viv K says:

    Too much to reply to- too little time, so will limit myself to ocean acidification.
    The ocean is alkaline now, the problem in the CHANGE in pH, it has become 30% more acidic. Yes it is still alkaline, but less so. That changes ocean chemistry and means marine organisms can’t make calcium based skeletons & shells as well they should do.
    Anyone with a high school knowledge of chemistry would understand.

  13. JC says:

    David, lets have a look at the “rebuttal” put out by
    the Met.

    “Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ºC. However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled. The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.”

    So what we can say is that the notable rise in temps that started in 1979 lasted to 1997, and ipso facto we can say that such is “not unusual”. Like wise we can it is “not unusual” for the temp to plateau or cool for 16 years, ie pretty much in line with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation where its warm for 30 years and cooler for the next 30; the PDO for the 1940s to 70s was cool, the 1980s to 00s was warm.

    And do you really want to argue that a 0.03C rise 1997-2012 is “statistically significant”.. particularly when its only about 25% of the model predictions?

  14. JC says:

    “Anyone with a high school knowledge of chemistry would understand.”

    Perhaps.. I might have missed that class.. but then I caught up in later life and discovered that shellfish evolved in the Ordovician period when CO2 levels were 4400 ppm, ie 10 ten times the level of today. One might be tempted to suggest that higher CO2 levels are not a problem for shellfish. Maybe they evolved? Whatever, at the current rate of “acidification” it will take several thousand years to become slightly acidic.
    In addition, we now know that ocean acidity varies by as much as 1.4 PH units regularly.. in extreme conditions in as little as one day and fish and shell creatures handle it.

    This isn’t to say we don’t have a problem with a less alkaline ocean.. just that we really don’t know what we are dealing with.


  15. Viv says:

    The pH scale is logarithmic, 1 unit represents a 10x change in acidity, there is NEVER a 1.4 unit change. Shellfish will not survive a 1 unit change. Quick note re my diabetes climate change analogy, C02 levels in ppm represents blood sugar levels, directly measurable, nothing to do with models.

  16. David Winter says:

    That’s an extraordinary number of falsehoods to fit into a few short paragraphs, JC.

    FWIW, the warming of the period you mention is statistically significant (no argument, no scare quotes). It’s also about twice the magnitude you give. Also note warming post 1997 is consistent with the pre-1997 trend you’ve called a warming phase.

    You can’t naively compare model predictions with outcomes over the short-run, because much of the variability in the short-run temperatures results from climate cycles (like the solar cycle, or el nino) which effectively cancel each other out across the many model runs that make the predictions. You can factor out these cycles from the observed temperatures, and when you do the results match predictions pretty well.

    These factoids about life doing alright in past climate miss the fact that the current temperature rise is much faster than ancient equivalents. I’m sure some species will do alright in a more acidic ocean, but there is likely to be a major biotic shift, and they are not usually good news over the short term.

    Finally, even if you were right about these hand-waving global-skepticism arguments about being unable to know for sure about some outcome or other, short of a very good reason as to why adding to the greenhouse effect won’t warm the earth surely the prudent thing to do limit out impact (a problem National has decided to pass on to the next government, it seems)

  17. TraceyS says:

    And continuing on with that analogy…the taxpayer (represented by the government of the time) may decide NOT to fund said bypass surgery and/or dialysis owing to JC’s deplorable and inexcusable ignorance. He/she might deserve to die early for being so dumb and not sheepishly following the doctor’s advice. Let’s not be concerned that JC had worked hard and paid taxes all his or her life. Those who said “I told you so” might sit back and gloat while watching the suffering. Expect “that sort of reaction” from the next generation only if they are sold the climate-control guilt trip so early on in their lives that it becomes the essence of their very beings. I for one am pleased that there is ignorance in the world. While it exists, the future remains unwritten.

  18. TraceyS says:

    Hi Viv, “anyone with a high school knowledge of chemistry would understand…” also that calcium absorption can be blocked, whether in the body or the environment, by the presence of a number of other minerals in the wrong balance.

  19. Viv K says:

    Ocean acidification is the process of ocean pH decreasing (i.e. becoming more acidic) due to absorption of fossil fuel CO2 from the atmosphere. Another effect of ocean acidification is to reduce the amount of carbonate that is available to marine organisms, such as shellfish, for making their calcium carbonate shells. Saying that some other mechanisms block calcium absorption is irrelevant.
    I understand that you seem to be concerned about loading children with guilt for the state of the world. It is NOT the children’s fault and no one should be blaming them for our current fossil fueled lifestyles, that the Nats seem hell bent on pursuing.
    It is the current adult generation who are the ones who should be doing something so that the next generation are not left with a world with damaged oceans, an unliveable climate and river water that is not safe for contact.
    The children of today will grow up and they will see with their own eyes what we have let happen to the world. I am doing this for my children because I am worried for their generation’s future. I don’t load my kids with guilt, nor do I lecture them on ‘green’ issues.

    The next generation will look back and blame us and it will be a fair call.

  20. sallyco says:

    http://joannenova.com.au/ – The IPCC was wrong. (Matthew England and the ABC mislead Australians)

    “The Facts:

    The IPCC used the word “prediction” in 1990 and predicted a best estimate of 0.3°C with a range of 0.2°C – 0.5°C per decade
    Even with the most generous overestimate of current trends, the temperature trend has fallen below their lowest estimate, while CO2 emissions were higher than expected. The 1990 predictions can not be called “true”, “consistent” or to have “occurred” by any definition in any English dictionary.”

    Thanks to Joanne for her blog

  21. TraceyS says:

    With all due respect Viv, I think that children work a little differently to that. Young children don’t discriminate like adults do when they hear negative messages from adults. What they hear is fossil fuels are bad and at the same time know that they love their motorbike or car trips to see friends, go shopping etc. Simple as that!! That’s enough for guilt to be instilled. No-one has to push anything and I never suggested you did either! I made the conscious decision to protect my kids from feeling guilty for just being human…

  22. Viv K says:

    Fossil fuel use has negative consequences. We all like our modern lives- thats the problem for all, young & old.

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