Yes, its climate change week in the policy world, where we talk about climate change till our jaws fall off. I’ll just give you the edited highlights.

Yesturday was the NZ Institute of International Affairs, on the current policy around climate change. So notes:

  • Kyoto is the only game in town, its got specific targets and teeth if nations don’t meet them
  • No reasonable people are questioning the credibility of the science
  • There’s still reasonable people questioning the costs of doing nothing
  • No-one knows what anthropogenic means. Let’s all say human-induced.
  • China is building three more Huntly’s every month
  • Soil can act as a sink of carbon, just like trees, but Kyoto doesn’t count soils, yet.
  • Dairing makes for a fifth of our emissions and a fifth of our export earnings
  • Fonterra’s rail hub in the Waikato halved their transport emissions by taking forty thousand truck movements off the roads
  • Everybody wants “enduring, long-term” policies but no-one agrees on what type of policies
  • The industry people all wanted “flexible” government policies and don’t want to be penalised by NZ taking a whiter-than-white approach.
  • Industry representatives say that they’re energy efficient already and that they’re using “best practise”.
  • I asked about their definition of best practise? Surely they use whatever tech is economcally viable, depending on the energy price and if that price goes up then they’ll invest in better technology? They ummmed and ahhhed…
  • Most countries are trying to reduce emissions, even if it costs them economically to do so. And we want to keep trading with those countries…
  • Biofuels in NZ are far, far behind Brazil, Germany and Canada. This is one where we can make a difference right now by getting on with it.
  • Some degree of climate change is going to happen anyway, so we will have to adapt
  • The wine industry is carbon neutral. Let’s all celebrate!

Today and tomorrow, the big climate conference. For people can’t come to that, there’s Wednesday’s: Climate Change night at the Paramount
6.30-10.30 Victoria University and The British Council present an informal and informative night of movies, discussion, food and drinks. Hosted by Radio New Zealand’s Phil Smith and UK climate change expert, David Vaughan. $10 adults / $7 students. Tel 384 4080 for tickets.

6 thoughts on “

    1. Well, I want my job too, so you can’t have this one 😉

      But, its a growth area in policy, simply because the problems are so hard and we’re so far from solving them. How your particular set of skills would fit in, not sure, but a big area is how people’s behaviour changes and how it may have to change to prevent dangerous climate changes. So maybe there’s a route there?

      or, I dunno, climatic effects of building more prisons? struggling to find a link here

      1. I do have a degree in Environmental Studies, but I’m sure that doesn’t count for much these days. My first career choice before I happened upon criminal justice and now, education.

        1. Oh sweet. I reckon you should get on with it. You’ve a background in the science and a broad range of policy experience. What more could they want?

          Oh, tact as well, but you’ve far more of that than I. You’ll be right.

  1. Once upon a time…

    “Fonterra’s rail hub in the Waikato halved their transport emissions by taking forty thousand truck movements off the roads”

    We used to have harsh restrictions on the use of truck transport; something along the lines of not being allowed to shit good more than 100 km from their origin by truck. This was not an environmental policy, but rather to keep the then government-owned railways in business.

    Come Rogernomics, that went out the window. Let the market decide, and apparently it decided the future of long-distance haulage is marginally-competant drivers hopped up on wakey-wake pills. Which isn’t that flash to begin with; the envrionmental cost is an interesting addition to that.

    1. Re: Once upon a time…

      Well, letting the market decide is absolutely fine if the people in the market pay all the costs of what they’re doing. Truckers don’t pay the costs of their carbon emissions, or of the air pollution that kills more people in NZ than die in road accidents. If they did, then we’d see the market delivering less trucking.

      Hurrah for free markets. (If anyone finds one, then please let me know.)

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