Science matters

December 16, 2014

“It doesn’t matter about the science of climate change, the politics is settled.”

Someone who knows a lot about both science and politics said this to me some years ago.

It was a private conversation and  who said it doesn’t matter but the science does when it comes to responding to the politics.

I was reminded of this by the large number of comments on last week’s post about the issue (253 and counting!) and the inevitable arguing about the outcome of the Lima summit on Climate change.

The politics has settled on the premise that climate change is a problem and therefore demands a solution.

That solution should be based on the best science available but unfortunately too often it’s politics that  triumphs.

It is troubling that many of those who criticise our government for not doing enough to help the disadvantage advocate climate change policies which would do little if anything for the environment and a lot of damage to the economy.

That would hurt the vulnerable the most.

New Zealand’s emissions are tiny on a global scale and, unusually for a developed nation, most come from farm animals.

That those animals produce food and most of that is exported doesn’t seem to trouble those who appear to be more concerned about the politics than the science.

There’s no point inflicting economic damage to score political Brownie points when reduced production here would inevitably result in greater production in other places at a higher cost to the environment.

The responsible response to the politics must be a scientific one with a global environmental gain without unnecessary local economic pain.


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