Welcome to our one quarter target

Well, so much for “balance”, the Government has decided to sell out the very minimum target to prevent catastrophic climate change for short-term profit. We needed at least a 40% target for this, but despite a significant helping hand from the Greens, National has barely tried. Now, I wouldn’t have minded if a large chunk of our target was conditional- (like say the last 30% was phased in based on different conditions) I understand that New Zealand probably has some of the most expensive emissions to reduce or offset, even though I disagree with the exact figures the government is using.

But there are lots of really good ways to do that- and ironically, most of the big ones save money in the long term, and are really a double investment1 rather than just an emissions cut. The problem appears to be that National just doesn’t want to stand up to its business backers on climate change, and is perfectly willing to accept the premise of completely flawed research that deliberately doubles the likely costs of reducing emissions. This means the complaints we’re hearing about a 40% target really belong to an 80% target. (which, by the by, would actually be ambitious) Nobody is asking for an 80% cut, so the government should settle down and stop raising strawpeople.

Instead we’re likely to have a 10% emissions target, a quarter of what we need, because odds are bad that any specific concessions to make things easier for us developed countries who caused this problem will happen in Copenhagen are not good, and that second 10% of the target is conditional on it being easy for us to get savings from forestry. Holding back a large part of our target is smart. But why on one condition? When you negotiate, you do best to open up as many options for people to come up with an agreeable package. Float 10% on conditional targets being enough to hit a 40% worldwide reduction, for instance. Then we can say we’re willing to do our part if the rest of the world does theirs. Put another 5% on actual reduction of emissions in developing countries- even if we’re the ones paying for the reduction, it still needs to happen everywhere. Getting China to sign on to a net reduction is a really important step in meeting a global target.

Finally, put another 5% of our target conditional on our being recognised as a unique climate change haven for pacific countries, acting to mitigate the social effects as well as the ecological effects of climate change. Even in our best-case, 40% reduction scenario, many pacific islanders will still lose their homes, and we’re likely to be the ones taking in the vast majority of these eco-refugees. We should offer to take in any and all of these refugees that make it to New Zealand- if in return we get rules that allow us to reduce our agricultural emissions without worrying about getting pushed out of the market by cheaper, dirtier farming practices- apparently the biggest reason for our cop-out of a target.

Between these conditions, it’s likely we’d end up with a higher target, (because we’d be far more likely to get some of our conditions on our conditional targets met) but also with a much more agreeable global regime that would not make that target specifically hard on us, and would probably make us some good money towards it, too. It would be good for business to be seen as doing our part here, and for pushing for a stronger agreement using our targets, even if we didn’t end up making a very aggressive promise in the end.

Now someone just needs to convince the government… 😉 Let’s hope Keisha makes a good cup of tea.

1 I say double investment because an emissions cut is itself an investment.

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14 thoughts on “Welcome to our one quarter target

  1. many pacific islanders will still lose their homes, and we’re likely to be the ones taking in the vast majority of these eco-refugees.

    Why? We have a deepening crisis trying to feed and house New Zelanders, why should they come here. What is wrong with the New Guinea Highlands? The Andes? Inland Australia? How about Indonesia?

    it is not an automatic given that we have to take refugees if doing so capsises the New Zealand lifeboat.

    Interesting conundrum.

  2. Because Australia won’t, basically, and nobody else in the region is likely to be in a position to take refugees.

  3. So how do you see New zealand taking in roughly 1 million extra people, feeding, housing and then finding jobs for them all?

    Nice to be friendly to refugees, but where is the infastructure and more importantly where is the money to come from when we are already overspending?

    Under the treaty, should Maori be consulted first before allowing such massive immigration?

  4. Gerrit- I don’t imagine we’ll be dealing with particularly much more than other parts of the world if we end up taking on a million refugees. At least New Zealand will be able to support that kind of population even if we don’t keep climate change below catastrophic levels.

  5. Very noble of you Ari. But can you answer were the infastructure and support services will come from? And have you consulted Maori?

    Not as simple as it sounds.

  6. Ari,

    You (or any other Green member – toad?) really need to address this issue.

    Relocating the majority of pacific islanders here in New Zealand will require the addition of another city the size of Auckland.

    Where will you place it and how much natural resources will you allow to be destroyed to build it?

    On one hand you want to protect natural resources yet on another you ask for infastruture to be built to house, feed and provide jobs for another city the size of Auckland.

    Think the two can go together?

  7. Gerrit said: You (or any other Green member – toad?) really need to address this issue.

    Relocating the majority of pacific islanders here in New Zealand will require the addition of another city the size of Auckland.

    Gerrit, Ari’s not talking about the “vast majority” of Pacific Islanders relocating here. He’s saying the vast majority of Pacific Island eco-refugees – statrting with the 12,000 inhabitants of Tuvalu who are under the most immediate threat and have the right as NZ citizens to live here in any case. So wer’e talking about tens of thousands of Pacific Islanders – not a million. Maybe we’re talking maybe a couple of hundred thousand people in all, including returning NZers, and we’re talking about it over decades, not next year.

    And the Green Party’s Population Policy does take this into account – see sections 1 & 3.

  8. toad,

    As key principal number 1, have the Green party consulted Maori?

    Where reported?

    Now even 400,000 people require infastructure. Where, when and how is the question and funded by the ever decreasing tax payer base?

    I look forward to the expanded section 4/1 of the policy

    Research what an optimum population level could be in order to maintain both spare capacity and a decent standard of living

    When will that be available?

    Seeing that section 5/1 accepts any pacific island refugee.

    One thing to have policy, quite another to provide for it in any budget or planning regime.

  9. Thanks Toad, I study in the mornings so I didn’t have time to even check G.Blog earlier, let alone reply to Gerrit’s comment. 🙂

    Now even 400,000 people require infastructure. Where, when and how is the question and funded by the ever decreasing tax payer base?

    You really think eco-refugees are going to be a drain on our economy rather than a productive and vibrant new community to welcome? Or are you talking about the costs for the investment of setting them up with new lives here? I accept there will be cost for that, but I think the Greens have proposed more than adequate revenue policies for this sort of spending- we just lessen our proposed income/company tax cuts very slightly, or phase them in more slowly.

    When will that be available?

    Seeing that section 5/1 accepts any pacific island refugee.

    One thing to have policy, quite another to provide for it in any budget or planning regime.

    This sort of research is not easy and takes time, whether it’s for a political party or purely academic. We’re a small party run largely by volunteerism. It’s not like we’re spending millions on marketing research to invent half-baked policies to “sell” each election. 🙂

  10. The problem appears to be that National just doesn’t want to stand up to its business backers on climate change,

    The problem is that National really are conservatives and they work on the principal of “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it”. Of course, this does rely upon things not being broken which isn’t true but what National and it;s backers want to be true. The 10% cut is just a concession to the “punters in punterland” and their, in Nationals view, false belief in human forced climate change.

  11. That’s entirely possible, Draco, but frankly I think speculating on motives is a waste of time- it’s the facts of the matter that we need to worry about. 🙂

  12. This sort of research is not easy and takes time, whether it’s for a political party or purely academic.

    Rubbish,

    I would expect a researchers answerable to me (and in my corporate live had a few) to come up with background figures in 8 hours.

    All we need is demographic figures to come up with ready answers.

    IE, How many new schools do we need? Current population 4 million, current school numbers X, (ratio of Z). Population coming from the Pacific Islands numbers Y.

    Increased number of schools required is Y times ratio Z.

    Not rocket science and well within the capabilities of a competant 6th former.

    Repeat with all other infastructre requirements such as teachers required, housing requires, Mangere immigration hostel epansion and funding, electricity generation and distribution requirements, job creation requirements, etc.,etc.,etc.

    Stick it all on a spread sheet and tally up. Add 10% contingencies and you have a workable costing for a mainline Green policy.

    Would make an excellent 6th Form project for anyone interested.

    And any 7th former (do we still do 7th form)could do this exercise

    What are the taxation cashflow requirements for transition of immigrants from tax recipient status as an immigrant to the tax payer status in new found vocations.

    Add to that the impact this taxation cashflow will have on the 4 million New Zealanders whose government is already spending more then they collect in taxation.

    So come on all the Green teachers and students, take on this project and helpout the Green party dilemma of not being able to research and cost official party policy.

  13. but frankly I think speculating on motives is a waste of time- it’s the facts of the matter that we need to worry about.

    The fact of the matter is that a few people got very rich off of the present system and they don’t want that to change. Motives are very much a part of why things get done/not done and therefore needs to be looked at as part the facts.

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