A bit more effort is needed if NZ stands any hope of living up its 100% Pure marketing aspirations. A robust commitment to reducing carbon emission would be a good start in establishing NZ’s green credentials. The issue is being taken very seriously indeed by other Pacific Island Nations. many of whom are low-lying and will be devastated by sea level rises.
“Yesterday’s target announcement from New Zealand’s had one – and only one – positive aspect. It surpassed the ‘extremely low’ expectations that ECO announced yesterday, by a whole 5%. Now it’s just ‘really really low’ instead. And still below the Bali range.
Think of it this way: imagine that you have a giant chasm to cross. Call it a ‘grand climate canyon’, if you will. Your entire population lives on one side of the canyon, but scientists warn you that floods, famines and food shortages will cause unimaginable suffering, unless you can find a way to cross to the other side. Your best scientists, lawyers and engineers conference together, do the measurements, and determine that you need to build a bridge exactly 1,000 metres long, to enable your fellow citizens to cross safely to the other side.
But for some unknown reason, your social and government leaders decide to build a bridge that only goes 500m. (And even this might be too high a figure, considering current progress in the LCA.) Citizens see the government making ‘progress’, they celebrate, and they are lulled into the false sense of security that they will be safe. Their leaders happily shepherd them onto the bridge, and they happily march forward, towards their impending doom. And that’s not hyperbole.
In the same way that you can’t be half pregnant, you can’t reduce emissions by only 20% by 2020 and miraculously expect the climate to stabilise below 2 degrees C. You need to go all the way.
It is well known, from various analyses by the UNFCCC and others, that the targets put forward by Annex 1 nations, in sum, amount to only a 10-16% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. No wonder the IPCC scientists – and some here at CAN – are being driven to drink these days. On the outside, even the youth climate campaigners look hopeful, but under their youthful, happy veneer, even they are getting desperate. The New Zealand target completes a rather dismal Annex I picture.
The same ‘threshold problem’ applies not only to carbon reduction targets, but also to climate finance, technology transfer, adaptation, and REDD/LULUCF. To be safe, you can’t just build half a sea wall. You can’t halftrain a renewable energy engineer. You can’t plant half a tree. You can’t give someone half a course of anti-HIV medicines. You can’t use half a condom. You can’t fly half a plane. You can’t use half a parachute. And you can’t reduce carbon emissions by half the amount that science demands. That’s why they call it ‘runaway’ climate change.
So, here at ECO, our message is this: we fully expect that, by Copenhagen, the idiotic targets put forward thus far by Annex 1 nations will be more than doubled. More than 40%, or bust.”
More to come.