It’s about how fast you get there, not how big your truck will be

Word on the news is that John Key is floating embarrassing us even further and gutting our tourism marketing by setting back our already third-rate Emissions Trading Scheme another year by backloading it. (ie. increasing the eventual target when we’re beyond the point of our emissions reductions making a meaningful long-term difference) Why? To line up with Australia.

I have news for the evidently climate-illiterate types running government: Your target doesn’t have to be big if you act fast. Up-front emissions reduction is the best way to fight climate change as it stops emissions from generating positive feedback that makes the problem worse. Backloading is a terrible idea because it turns emissions trading schemes into your worst fear- it’s sort of like dipping your toe into a cold lake when you could just jump in and get over with the shock three times as fast.

Not only that, but with people already cutting back during the economic crunch, it’s it’s hardly likely to be a very large burden at all if we go ahead as planned or even accelerate the scheme, and most of it will encourage industry to adopt better practices that will actually save them money in the long run regardless of the incentives from the trading scheme. Fast action on the climate is a win/win/win in the long term in exchange for a short-term tradeoff of industry dollars for tourism and premium export dollars.

For a minister of Tourism, John Key needs to think a bit more about how’s he’s turning our clean green image into a dirty brown one.

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