Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stupidity rules the climate change roost

So, we are to have a "review" of the anthropogenic climate change question with selected "international experts" sponsored by the ACT party, and our Emissions Trading Scheme will be delayed in the meantime. A formal agreement between ACT and National says that a select committee on climate change will:

“...hear competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change from internationally respected sources and assess the quality and impartiality of official advice.”

Rodney Hide, leader of the ACT party, has said,

"Al Gore is a phoney and a fraud on this issue and the emissions trading scheme is a worldwide scam and a swindle."[1]

Mr Hide’s mind is clearly made up, and his agreement with National implies that public servants are providing biased advice. When he says that the emissions trading scheme is a scam and swindle, is he accusing officials of promoting a scam? Whom will Mr Hide select as “internationally respected sources” when he wants a particular outcome?

"Laughable" doesn't really do this justice. Rodney Hide is pursuing a small slice of the popular vote in a way that is not only damaging our credibility, but will cost us dearly financially and hurt the environment - three blows against the nation from just one incredibly stupid, ill-informed ACT policy.

A recent report in New Scientist pointed out that the world is more than meeting its Kyoto commitments, so the line that, "nobody is meeting their commitments and so it will all be scrapped" is just ignorant bullshit. If we fail to meet our Kyoto commitments we will have to pay - billions of dollars most likely.

The "review" has undermined potential investments in new forests that reportedly run into 100s of millions of dollars, i.e.: 10s of thousands of new hectares of forest that could be soaking up CO2. If we don't plant more forests now, then during the 2020s when the 1990s plantings are harvested we will pay for a huge hole in our national carbon accounts.

The idea that ACT, in cahoots with the "Climate Change Coalition" - Owen McShane et al. - have the inside story on climate change in the face of years of careful research by responsible scientists is manifestly stupid, and that a responsible government would allow such a small dog tail to influence policy in such an expensive, damaging way, implies a whole extra layer of stupidity.

[1] NZPA | Tuesday September 2 2008, reported in the National Business Review