NZ climate policies grind uselessly onRichard Treadgold | October 28, 2012
Simon asked in comments:
What fundamental central and local government policy decisions have been based exclusively on the 7SS?
The question is too restrictive. Possibly the only “exclusive” policy was the decision to spend $70,000 reconstructing the national temperature record using the wrong method and then ignoring public-spirited citizens who found serious faults in it.
Widening slightly the scope of Simon’s question by ignoring the word “exclusively”, we discover hundreds of policies with indistinct justification provided by local temperatures. Our temperature record claims 50% more local warming over 100 years than global warming elsewhere, so it would be indeed odd if climate activism were not aided and abetted by the 7SS.
Of course people are alarmed by the record, never mind how NIWA disavows knowledge of any national temperature series. It’s published proudly on their web site and their climate scientists traipse around the country whipping up fervour for climate change policies by publicly presenting the 7SS and they wheel it out in every court case that touches present or future national temperatures or the imagined effects of temperature change.
The Environment Court probably by now has the damned graph nailed to the wall for ready reference. Every politician in the country knows our temperature record shows strong warming and are therefore either concerned about the future or understand why the Green Party and Greenpeace are concerned about the future of the climate. The 7SS most decidedly influences policy even though in using it NIWA is knowingly presenting an inferior scientific product.
But to discover how the 7SS might have influenced our national climate policies and to find out what the policies are, I went to a government web site that lists departments that include climate change in their responsibilities.
Government – who does what?
A number of government agencies carry out functions relevant to climate change.
The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for leading the development of the emissions trading legislation and for the development of allocation plans and regulations under the scheme. The Ministry is also responsible for reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Convention) and the Kyoto Protocol and has a climate change adaptation work programme.
The Ministry of Transport contributes to the NZ ETS, and leads work on biofuels, electric vehicles, other alternative fuels and technologies and the energy efficiency of commercial fleets.
The Ministry for Primary Industries contributes to government policy on climate change in a number of areas, including policy development and implementation of the NZ ETS, the Climate Change Plan of Action, adapting to climate change, and a range of other funding and research activities relating to agriculture and forestry policy.
The Ministry of Economic Development is responsible for energy policy and the management of the New Zealand Emission Unit Register. The Ministry of Economic Development is also involved in research into carbon capture and storage, energy information and modelling, and exploring the use of oil, natural gas, geothermal and alternative fuels.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority encourages, supports and promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of renewable sources of energy in New Zealand.
The Electricity Commission is responsible for regulating the operation of the electricity industry and markets. It also promotes and facilitates the efficient use of electricity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for leading New Zealand’s international climate change negotiations. A number of other agencies contribute to and support this work.
The Treasury provides information, research and economic perspectives on climate change policy.
The Department of Conservation is responsible for conserving the natural and historical heritage of New Zealand. It also manages large tracts of native forest and provides policy advice on climate change issues, where they relate to and intersect with conservation issues.
The Ministry of Science and Innovation has a role in promoting New Zealand’s innovation system by providing science and technology policy advice to the Government, some of which relates to climate change. The Ministry is also responsible for investing money in science and research on behalf of the New Zealand Government, including research on climate change.
Local authorities (regional, district and unitary authorities) have the primary responsibility for regulating resource use in New Zealand and for promoting the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of communities. Local authorities are required to have regard to the effects of climate change. Many local authorities are active in promoting emissions reductions policies and measures in their respective regions.
Last updated: 9 August 2012
Our children’s future
Quite an impressive list. Although some of those departments have climate change as their major purpose in life and some merely dabble in it, overall, climate change is a huge enterprise, sucking up serious quantities of tax dollars as it trundles remorselessly into our children’s future.
I wanted to see quickly the kinds of policies inspired by climate change and discovered “New Zealand’s Fifth National Communication Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” in which I found: “Table C.1: Summary of policies and measures by sector.”
“That’s interesting,” I thought. “I shall write down in my blog for the edification of my readers the description of each of these policies.” As the word count climbed towards 500 I began to hope I wouldn’t lose too many of those readers to slumber.
Here’s the list of policies from that table, with descriptions. Our next task, children, will be to discover the justification for each and every policy. Those that are unjustified we shall destroy.
NZ’s climate change policies
- New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme
- Marine Energy and Distributed Generation Funds
- Efficient Products Programme
- Business programmes
- ENERGYWISE homes
- Electricity efficiency programme
- Energy efficiency in government
- Vehicle fuel economy labelling
- Renewable transport fuels including biofuels
- Electric vehicles
- Other transport measures
- Global Alliance on agricultural emissions
- Primary Growth Partnership (PGP)
- Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC)
- Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action
- East Coast Forestry Project
- Afforestation Grant Scheme
- Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative
- Increasing the use of wood as a construction material
- Waste Minimisation Act 2008
- National Environmental Standard for Landfill Methane.
The scheme will cover all sectors and all gases, and will reduce emissions by making emitters pay for any emissions covered under the Kyoto Protocol.
Providing financial assistance and support for research into, and deployment of, marine and small-scale electricity generating activities.
This programme develops energy efficiency measures for a range of residential, commercial and industrial products, and allows both New Zealand and Australia to set consistent standards and measures for energy efficiency.
Provides information on new technologies and energy management, grants for energy audits and demonstrations of new technology, and one-on-one support for energy-intensive businesses. Grant funding is available for new or under-utilised technology improvements.
Aims to increase energy efficiency in homes by providing information and grants for energy efficiency measures. Also provides information on the funding available to reduce energy consumption, including clean space heating options and solar hot water.
Provides subsidies for efficient electrical products such as light bulbs and electric motors. Subsidies are also available for projects to improve efficient use of electricity in commercial buildings.
Supports central and local government entities to implement energy efficiency initiatives within their own operations. Provides information and forums to improve awareness of energy efficiency in the community. Also provides grant funding for energy audits.
To encourage greater production of biofuels` and to ensure equal incentives for different types of biofuels between now and 2012, the Government has agreed to provide a grant to biodiesel producers.
Promote uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand, by exempting them from road-user charges.
These include research and driver training to promote more efficient driving practices, and funding to improve and promote the use of public transport in New Zealand.
A worldwide virtual network set up for climate change research into agriculture and food production.
Provides investment in significant programmes of research and innovation to boost the economic growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s primary, forestry and food sectors.
A partnership between the Government and the dairy and fertiliser industries which provides livestock farmers with the information and means to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions.
Initiatives and programmes in the agricultural and forestry sectors that focus on adaptation to climate change, reducing emissions and enhancing sinks, and new business opportunities.
The main purpose of this project is to reduce erosion by encouraging tree planting on erosion-prone land. The project also enhances the sequestration of carbon in forest sinks.
Aims to increase the area of Kyoto-compliant forest in New Zealand by offering a simpler alternative to the NZ ETS for landowners with small tracts of forest.
Promotes the establishment of permanent forests on previously unforested land by offering the opportunity to earn assigned amount units for carbon sequestered in permanent forests established after 1 January 1990.
A range of initiatives designed to increase the use of wood as a construction material, such as: funding full life-cycle analysis research, professorship positions, and funding demonstration buildings.
Aims to lower the social costs and risks from waste, reduce the damage to the environment from waste generation and disposal, and increase economic benefits by encouraging more efficient use of materials. It will also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector.
Requires landfill sites with a design capacity greater than 1 million tonnes of refuse to collect and destroy methane emissions.
Some of these projects have little to do with climate change but have been shanghaied, dragged kicking and screaming into the climate change arena to make the government look good to the eco-terrorists.
Some are mere stocking-fillers with no intrinsic value, such as labelling vehicles with their fuel economy – nothing but a mindless propaganda exercise.
Others cost a lot of money, such as the Global Alliance on agricultural emissions, which seems open-ended and could soak up as much money as we want to throw at it, although if it improved agricultural efficiency or production it might be worthwhile.
Still others are very expensive AND a waste of everything they use, like the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC). For until ruminants stop using multiple stomachs and anaerobic bacteria to digest grass, they’ll never stop belching methane.
We’re good, but I can’t see our scientists altering physiology in any fundamental way.
In this list, I suspect, lies the true cost, or the beginnings of knowing the true cost, of our climate change policies. Policies we’ve adopted not for our own good, nor for the good of the world, but for the good of our image in the eyes of trading partners and, it must not be forgotten, the United Nations.
It is to the UN we must look, probably, to put a stop to the nonsense, but in the meantime there are local avenues still untried, such as simply publicising the real costs of our “fight” against “climate change”.
Next step: find the cost of each of these policies.