Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Climate change: Yet another fossil

Another day, another "fossil of the day" award for New Zealand at Doha:

The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand because the NZ Environment Minister thinks NZ is ‘ahead of the curve’ in not signing up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. CAN knows the opposite is true. What the Minister fails to realize is that by refusing to sign up to the only international legally binding deal to reduce carbon pollution, New Zealand will become more and more irrelevant in shaping a post-2020 regime. The second commitment period is critical to maintaining the legal architecture and strengthening the rules of the future regime, post-2020. It would have cost NZ zero to put in its weak pledge into a QELRO, but it stubbornly refused. All this shows is that NZ is becoming more and more like the ‘old’ Australia - cutting off its nose to spite its face. New Zealand is abandoning its national interest for what? Look out Canada, you’ve got competition.

This brings our fossil tally to five so far. Its almost as if National is keeping score by offending our overseas markets and the international community.

As for Groser thinking we're "ahead of the curve", we're not. Yes, in the long-run, major developing-world emitters need to be brought into a carbon control regime. But following the US in refusing to do anything until they are is not the way to go about that. Developed countries, including New Zealand, made this problem, and we have a responsibility to act first in fixing it. Participating in a second Kyoto commitment period vs continuing negotiations to bring in China and India is also not an either/or question; as the EU shows, we can do both, and we will gain more respect, credibility, and leverage by doing so than by aligning ourselves with the "do nothing" faction.