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Brian Fallow takes a look at the National Party's heel dragging on climate change, suggesting the party is the climate’s fair weather friend

Brian Fallow takes a look at the National Party's heel dragging on climate change, suggesting the party is the climate’s fair weather friend

By Brian Fallow

The National Party has opted to go to the electorate as the climate’s fair weather friend.

Last year it looked as though at last we had the kind of cross-party consensus which climate change, more than any other issue, requires. National voted for the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill which became law last November.

But two weeks ago it voted against the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill. It passed nonetheless.

National’s stance is that now is not the time to be imposing costs on consumers and (eventually) farmers.

The Government’s stance is that time is running out and the costs of decarbonising the economy and of adapting to the effects of a global failure to do so will only compound, the longer we keep procrastinating.

National’s climate change spokesman Scott Simpson described the ETS legislation as the “doing” piece of the Government’s climate change reform package. While the Zero Carbon Act provides a framework for setting emissions reduction goals and monitoring progress towards them, the ETS legislation “actually provides the minister of the day with the levers to have an impact on the day-to-day lives of New Zealanders through a pricing mechanism, he said.

“It’s a piece of legislation designed to, effectively, reward good behaviour and, effectively, punish poor behaviour in terms of carbon emissions.”

National did not support the bill at this time, he said, “Not because we don’t agree with the broad principles, because we do, but it’s a question of timing.”

National’s critics are bound to see this as the party reverting to type.

The unhappy history of the ETS goes briefly like this:

It made it into the statute book in 2008 in the last few weeks of the Clark Government’s ninth year in power. So Labour can hardly claim mana whenua rights to the moral high ground here.

Then National was elected, pointed to the Global Financial Crisis recession and promptly gutted the scheme.

Since then it has been a cap-and-trade scheme with, on the supply side of the market, no cap, while on the demand side the majority of national emissions have been exempted from any exposure to a carbon price.

The ETS Reform Act attempts to address both of those shortcomings, which have rendered the scheme, the main policy response to climate change, entirely ineffectual.

The legislation is the outcome of years of review and consultation initiated late in National’s term when Tim Groser was Climate Change Minster.

The current minister, James Shaw, put it like this during the committee stage debate:  “Every time there is an economic downturn, when they’re in government the National Party says, ‘Great. Let’s defer action on climate change. Let’s put it off until things get better.’ And then things get better and you kind of think ‘OK, well, we probably need to review those settings, right’… Then that whole process, because it’s so complicated, takes a few years and then you say ‘Look, great, here’s some reforms we need to do,’ and then boom, there’s another economic downturns and ‘Let’s kick the can down the road’.”

As for the costs to be heaped on consumers in these times of peril and pestilence, Shaw told Parliament that if the carbon price were to double from its previous cap of $25 a tonne, the impact on middle-income families would be about $3.40 a week.

“For households in the lowest 20% of income levels the weekly costs would increase by about $2 a week and that….assumes that everything ticks along and nobody changes anything, so a return to the status quo.”

National could, however, argue that its “now is not the time” stance is at least consistent with its policy of no new taxes in its first term. The ETS Reform Act sets up a mechanism for the Government to auction units into the supply side of the carbon market, consistent with its cap, which would render the scheme more tax-like.

The counter-argument would be that it is a bit rich for National to criticise the extent of Covid-related debt the Government is running up on inter-generational grounds, while it is indifferent to a mounting legacy of climate costs on the same future New Zealanders.

The other main concern National has raised with the Act is its impact on pastoral farming.

Last September the Government concluded an agreement with the primary sector’s peak representative bodies called  “He Waka Eke Noa”, aka the Joint Action Plan on Primary Sector Emissions.

Among the things it provides that the sector develop or refine farm environment plans which would credibly account for farm-level emissions, and offsets, and provide the basis for emissions pricing “only on emissions in excess of emission targets and to the extent necessary to incentivise the uptake of economically viable opportunities that translate to lower global emissions”.

When? By 2025.

So vicarious shroud-waving about this, on the grounds that now is not the time to be heaping costs on a sector that earns so much of country’s living as a trading nation, is stretching the word “now” beyond its semantic breaking point.

True, the ETS legislation does introduce a requirement for the Climate Change Commission to report on progress towards the primary sector’s climate change commitments two years from now. If insufficient progress is evident by then the Government could introduce agriculture into the ETS at the processor level (dairy factories and meat works).

Everyone agrees that would be a sub-optimal outcome, involving rough justice for those farmers making genuine progress on emissions. It is preferable that the price signal in transmitted in a granular way to those who can, and need to, respond to it, that is, individual livestock farmers.

Arguably as it is the policy penalises farmers who have already acted to reduce emissions, while benefiting their laggard neighbours, inasmuch as it would not be applied retrospectively.

And the provisions for offsetting sequestration are widely drawn to including native vegetation, riparian planting, shelter belts, orchards and vines.

The threat of a processor-level price seems to be intended to ensure that the task of developing farm-level emissions accounting does not become an exercise in playing for time, in hopes of a change of government. The timetable was agreed with the sector, Shaw points out, as challenging but do-able.

Ultimately the policy of eventually exposing pastoral farmers to a price on some of the emissions arising from ruminants is justified by the fact that the status quo is one where those who are responsible for, and profit from, nearly half of the country’s emissions get a free ride or subsidy at the expense of the rest of the country.

Worse still, the expectation that that would last indefinitely would continue to be capitalised into land prices, benefiting incumbents at the expense of their successors.

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Climate change should be the last thing NZ worries about.


Agreed. The CCP should be somewhere near the top of the list eh Tongzhi.

/tóng zhì/

used to mean people with same thoughts and work hard together to achieve a common goal.

Nowadays, it means gay people. So, we seldom use this term today.

'we' meaning comrades at the troll farm.

Agreed , the biggest co2 polluter in the world is rice production.

With half the worlds population using rice as a staple , how is that going to change ?

Its Hobson's choice for China and India , starve from a collapsed climate (if it ever happens) or starve from stopping rice growing .

Could you please share a source for this claim?

There's an interesting article on it here:

It does highlight that it's not quite as simple as it sounds, and that meat production emissions overall are considerably worse. It's also potentially not too much worse than fruit and veges, across all emissions.

Depends on what value you are comparing. The comparison between meat and rice was only on calorie value. It depends what you are measuring - total nutritional value might show something different.

Why is this troll always the first to comment? And when will he/she be removed?

Always posting with the interests of China at the forefront.


Emissions Trading Scheme - a BS policy by bureaucrats without an innovate or courageous bone in their body. A policy designed to allow the worst emitters to dodge their responsibilities, while the costs get imposed on the ordinary people. So another way to create another 'money-go-round' without achieving anything of real value.

The Government is serious about reducing emissions then they must legislate for emissions caps, and enforce them.

Just like recycling. Softly softly try and get consumers to push for less packaging rather than getting stuck in there at the source.

...and in if the public were serious about reducing emissions the Air NZ carbon offset scheme would have had a greater than a 0.75% uptake. If 99% of the public aren't prepared to pay then what mandate does the government have to impose a virtue signalling tax?

Air NZ'S 'scheme' was bollocks.

And you can quote me.

Real, physical sequestration is the only measure, and by that measure, they didn't.


"Arguably as it is the policy penalises farmers who have already acted to reduce emissions, while benefiting their laggard neighbours, inasmuch as it would not be applied retrospectively."

The "laggard neighbours" being townies like Brian. Farm methane emissions have been flat for decades even if you ignore soil carbon like the ETS does.

"Emissions from Kiwi households have swelled by almost 12 per cent over a decade – partly because of road trips around the country - and now nearly match those of our manufacturing industries."

Question is, then, what we do about it.

Where's the Burkean conservatism when you need it, the kind where it matters what is passed to the following generations?

Should people pay for the cost of their own pollution, as a general rule? Seems to make sense and certainly shouldn't be anathema to "user pays" folk.

Well for a start we could stop conflating the carbon cycle with pollution. The globe is greening fast, and soaking up much more CO2 than expected. Making a mockery of politicians climate changing vanity projects.

"Adjusting to include only biophysical effects (CO2 and climate‐driven sink), we estimate a cumulative biophysical sink of 174 PgC (spatial distribution; Figure 5a,b), equivalent to 17 years of anthropogenic CO2 emissions at current rates."

We could stop conflating picked cherries with broader scientific findings, for another.

Of course we should not limit the pollution issue to carbon, given the wider pollution and biosphere issues in play, not least the major extinction event human activity is driving. That link is useful in highlighting the need to preserve carbon sinks that are still currently present, as well as enlarge these.

Again, nothing in these discussions precludes the idea of people paying for the cost of their own pollution. Seems like user-pays should still be an acceptable general rule.

"Seems like user-pays should still be an acceptable general rule." The 99% of Air NZ fliers who don't use carbon offsets would suggest it is far from acceptable to the general public.

Because many people opt out of costs if others can be made to bear them. Easy outs.

Just as owners of damp rentals are happy for the taxpayer to bear the cost of medical care rather than them paying the cost of insulation.

Yep. Biggest emmisions come from domestically owned cars - offset by industry. Better subsidies for EVs so they become a realistic choice for new purchasers, coupled with increasing tax take on fuels and luxury tax on those ridiculous 4x4 vehicles when not used for farm or construction. Less of them would reduce accident fatalities too.

Every EV we put on the road increases our need to run Huntly power station harder - either burning Indonesian coal or natural gas. This is because we're only have about 82% renewable electrical supply.

So we shouldn't let any EVs on the road until the electrical supply can deliver 100% renewable energy.

Have you actually seen the graphs released each year showing the break down of emissions? Animal agriculture makes up almost half of all emissions.


%70 of the increase in Co2 emission has come from India and China, what we do is meaningless.

Exactly. Can tell me that Cows in NZ do any more damage to the historical animal populations in America and Africa used to do. Was really interesting to see the lock down pollution clearance from India and China. Photo of the Himalayas etc where pollution had obscured it for years.

Rivers dude. Drinking water

Of course they do. The native animal populations didn't denude the growth along the river, nor did they indulge in chemical input, nor in mono-cropping.

Fair point. I meant on a global atmosphere level, vs damage to local fauna. Clearly cows do way more damage to local fauna in NZ than birds and moa ever did.

I for one are tired of hearing this excuse. I can understand sweeping the problem under the rug for convenience. But why stoop to making up silly stories to tell ourselves?

Larger countries can make bigger overall changes sure, but it takes a whole lot more individual's to do work. We can make a smaller change, but we are fewer. That does not make us any less responsible per-capita.

It makes us a rounding error. It also imposes huge costs on society that won't make a bit of difference.

Exactly the same argument can be used for every 5 million person city in China and India. If we all think like this, noone does anything - we need to stop making excuses.

Yes, exactly my point.

Whats worse is that we and Oz transport logs and iron ore halfway around the world to be manufactured by the mass polluting countries just to transport them back as furniture, steel etc. Its ludicrous when these items can be made here.

The tax should be on those goods to make them equal to the cost if produced here to promote a lower carbon footprint and to utilize our more efficient electricity and promote better manufacturing practices

Nonsense on several levels, AJ.

How much base-line, compared toy your cherry-picked 'increase'?

How much of our consumption is manufactured/generated in those countries? That OUR pollution, is that proportion....

I heard about NZ voters not seeing past the end of their noses without any global perspective. The support for the literal destruction of our country (by voting Fonterra/National) confirms that these people exist in large numbers. Snap out of and think about the grandkids for once - we still have a chance to fix it but we can't wait for you all to pass away!


I saw a video of a beach (East Cape I think) covered in pine debris following the heavy rain - it was absolutely trashed. The pine has been planted for ETS credits of course. Is this the future, our beautiful country once covered in amazing native forest is now going to be covered in an invasive weed? We need a better solution than this, if you want to plant tree's they have to be native. Otherwise hand the land back to Maori and get out.


that damage goes from Napier all the way north. The biggest landowners on the coast will be Maori corporations.

Some are, many aren't. Also, Maori should know better so if they do plant pine it's totally unacceptable but pricing needs to favour native, not pine. As many have noted, the whole thing is a gimmick so we may as well regenerate with native.

The Maori blocks I'm involved in are all going Manuka, no pine to be seen.

great, but it's fast growing hardwoods that can create the jobs hose communities need. If we can get hardwoods established ,mill and dry locally for export, we will start to see some decent community benefits.
I worry that pine is one beetle or one spore of canker getting past MPI from complete catastrophe.

Lots of other plants can be very high producers of honey, I think one is Sainfoin, I have seen some very high honey producing regions overseas but honey was never on my radar at the time, should have taken notice.
As much as I love our native bush I don't think it's going to create the jobs, mixed planting of deciduous trees can create beautiful forests and a lot more income. It justs needs some research and a generation to get to where it's producing.

I have put this guy up before, but at $2600 a M3, his eucalypts are making great returns, and not affecting grazing.

Not sure I understand Andrew, the tree's can never be milled and there are almost no jobs or economic benefit. There is no export - this is one of my points. We are going to create a massive pine ghetto.

sorry, i think the Carbon scheme is a disaster, long term hardwoods, for high end use is where we need to go, selective milling, drying and processing all done locally. Rotation would be 50 years for many but Eucalypts would be not far off pines. It's getting the right gum that's challenging. Mixed forest with grazing underneath, providing shelter and shade and stabilising soils, while getting an economic return.
I worry about eco-terrorism with Pines, if it gets to a stage where people get strong views ,it wouldn't be hard to bring a beetle in on your sock and fix the problem.

In forests in France Andrew, when they take out an oak, they plant another and plan to tend it for 150 years.
It produces marvellous timber.

Oak is rare in the fact that the faster it grows the denser is the timber. Bit like how our best pine is from Nelson and Northland. Eucalypts are like Oak, very dense even when grown fast.

I have a friend in France who shares a Beech forest with the local monastery. A 200 year rotation, lots of firewood, Sycamore gets thinned out, Sycamore is harvested for timber. Amazing resource and it's a big enough area to generate some money for hunting.
Lots of trees we could grow in a mixed harvestable forest, with symbiotic species.

If New Zealand was allowed to export indigenous timber, then we could see a vast expansion of our native forestry with all its inherent symbiosis and improved soil carbon. But it is illegal to export native woods and so we have to cover our hills in noxious weeds like pinus radiata to make any money out of forestry.

I agree with much of what you say, I really hate pine.

Te Kooti, planting any single species large scale, even manuka is not good for biodiversity - and bees. Speaking to an apiarist, they no longer take their bees to large manuka plantations as bees need variation of diet to remain healthy and their bees did not do well. One only has to look at the almond groves in California to see the effect large scale monocultures have on bees.

Monocultures are also bad for soil bacteria and fungi, things which sequester carbon to a greater degree than most trees.

Manuka flowering is only 2-3 months though, plenty of mixed diet the rest of the year.

My understanding of mānuka is that it's a nursery tree because it initially acidifies the ground and prevents weed growth from dropping needles -very much like a pine in some ways. As natives are light seeking they shoot up and overtake the manuka's light in turn when they establish a canopy. The difference between pine and mānuka then is the ability to have honey throughout - just different types. And biodiversity of course!

Manuka cultivated for honey are pruned, so they don't grow anything like they do wild. They actually flower more this way.

Makes sense. Back to the drawing board for biodiversity then..

Te Kooti -I totally agree with you that carbon credits should be available for plantings of native species only. There is a place for properly managed exotics for timber, but no carbon credits should be payable. The whole ETS is a cynical political ploy on the part of Labour / Green to shield the voting public from the effects and costs of their climate policy, and dump those costs on the rural community.

"Otherwise hand the land back to Maori and get out"

Get out of where?

Te Kooti - it is a name you need to change. He was involved in the Matawhero massacre. 54 people died there.

Are you serious?

Nah. But it's a thing nowdays. And the original Te Kooti was a killer.

Stone-cold, but most had it coming!

Shocking response. Suggest you undertake some reflection.

Agree. Pine should not be used for carbon credits - it might be quicker in the short term but it's still a monocrop that devastates everything else - both when growing and when harvested.

Interesting article here:

Yeah where is more profitable to plant trees for the carbon credits than produce food .

Climate change noise has distorted things to an unbelievable degree , and some of the science behind it is as shonky asf

I'm with you 100%, let's at least leave native forests for future generations.

Climate denial is shonky as f. Your comments speak of an entitled generation. Science is fact. A fact exists independently of you and I

Once this has been scientifically proven and peer reviewed for over 30 years, yep, I'll be happy with it.

Big tobacco bought out many doctors and health bodies, as has big pharma. The same applies with climate change science too.

We live on a planet with finite resources. That is a fact. We are not renewing many of those resources. That is a fact. The consumption of those resources is doing great damage to the earth and it's atmosphere. That is a fact too.

Depends which "scientists" you believe. Plenty of "scientists" on the climate change bandwagon. Many have a degree not necessarily related to climate but use selected data sets to suit the narrative. The ill-used causation and correlation story.

You're absolutely right. There is PLENTY of selective data sets and outright lies to suit many narratives. But not the climate science.

Plenty of "scientists" on the climate change bandwagon. Many have a degree not necessarily related to climate but use selected data sets to suit the narrative.

That's certainly been pointed out of recent denier movements, yes.

Boatman - self-justification can twist one's thought so, eh?

Sad to see.

Just vote National - they'll kick your conscience-can down the road.

The whole thing has been wildly over hyped. Even climate activists are now admitting what is blatantly true to anyone with half a brain who's taken the time to look at both sides of the debate.

One person?

That guy is a total shill.

He has a TED talk on the benefits of nuclear. Which actually I agree with.

But Google him. He has strong industry ties. He's not an environmental activist at all.

The Webinar series 2020: Towards a low-emissions future – is a webinar series that replaces the 2020 New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 response. Today's session which included a soil carbon section was interesting for a couple of things.
Around 90% of Fonterra's product ghg emissions are on farm, 9% manufacturing and 1% logistics. NZ on farm dairy emissions are 1/3 of the world average. A question was asked 'If we are low emitters per product should NZ not be increasing production so that others who are higher emitters can reduce output?' ;-)
NZ soil carbon average is 90T/ha, Australia 30T/ha and USA 45T/ha. NZ variation is around 30-300T/ha.
A graph showed the various impact land use has to soil carbon. Low intensity pastoral use was carbon positive. High intensity pastoral use was the lowest negative which hardly registered on the graph, but it was the two highest soil carbon loss land uses that was interesting. Pine plantation at 13% and croplands at 16%
The link to view the completed the webinar isn't up yet but the previous 3 webinars are there and there are two more to come.
edit: clarification of highest carbon loss to highest soil carbon loss

An ETS is always pollution causing BS. These should be gutted to prevent climate change.

Every ETS is based on trading carbon credits - a financial device that increases in value with relative scarcity. Think about that for a second. If a banker was completely amoral (but I repeat myself) they would be incentivised to kill the planet for profit, because their carbon credit holdings would increase in value.

Every ETS has at its heart a plan to kill the planet.

The problem is that we cannot sequester carbon enough - the source was locked away in-ground longer than we have existed as a species.

We are hauling it out, burning it for energy, then fooling ourselves we can sequester it (can justify our continued use, in other words) in acreage which was already carbon-saturated before we denuded it. That's a though-pattern worthy of fools.

And if we reduce our burning, our 'financial' system collapses; not enough high-quality energy meaning not enough work done.... So we choose to prevaricate..... Which means the first of the Limits to Growth will roll over us, while we're still blithering about 'growth'.

We weren't sapient enough. Sad epitaph, but there it is. Learn to grow food; the world is about to get a bit ugly (although the collapse might reduce carbon emissions.....

If you were put in charge of the world, what changes would you make?

TeK - a one-child policy. To the bleaters about personal 'rights', I say the consequences of overpopulation far, far outweigh your 'rights' - which are only the mental constructs of one species....

Two - full-circle resource flows (or no permit).

Three - a staged repatriation of wild biology.

Four - insert representation (at all decision-making levels) of future generations. I suggest 7 representatives, for the next 7 generations, one rep for ours, and all with equal voting-rights.

Which means an end to 'discounting the future'.

Five - within the above parameters, do whatever you like. But I'll give you the tip; only an egalitarian, thoughtful, pragmatic, caring, long-visioned and sparse population fits. That rules out those of a self-centered bent.

It sounds a bit like NZ before Cook discovered it....

TeK - no. NZ before Europeans was a result of migrants fleeing overpopulation/depletion/fighting over same in other places. They came here and ran up against resource limits. And fought to the death, often, over same. And ate the fresh energy, post battle. Those too squeamish to acknowledge this, or too energy-supplied to realise what energy deficit means, miss the point.

And some of them think they've the right to write the histories. While avoiding challenges. :) Anyone work out who I'm on about?

All of me is screaming not to get into this with you! You are incorrect in pretty much all your points regarding Maori, the culture is one of guardianship of food source - kaitiakitanga. The custom of eating ones foe was not about food, but about domination. Put it this way, how hard do you think it was to rustle up a snapper or crayfish in 1700's NZ?

Nope. It was fighting over resources. Always is. Those who write the narratives, always lie (to themselves and anyone listening) about that because it is somewhat uncomfortable. Rwanda may have been scrapping along ethnic lines (we do this first, later needing uniforms, roundels, flags and paint to differentiate in battle) but it was a too-many-people-not-enough-Rwanda problem. Read 'A Short History of Progress (Wright) and anything by Jared Diamond.
And exhausted after a death-the-only-other-option fight, you'd go looking for snapper? Spare me. Protein deficit came first, legend second. Thus histories are slewed. Lebensraum fur Herrenvolk was a legitimate query - look how our historians have buried that! Ever counted the number of ghetto-held Palestinians, vs the Holocaust total? 6 million in both cases. Hear the outrage about the former? Note us boycotting Israel and the US?

Hunter Thompson had it about right: 'History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit'. My beef is with those who are screwing the scrum even now. As you p[rove.

I have to disagree with you on this PDK. Easter Island maybe.. but Lapita, no. And little evidence of elsewhere.

But you also forget that mātauranga Māori is really extensive in relation to sustainability know-how. Easy example is maramataka - Māori knowledge of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga exemplary compared to Pākehā record.

That'll explain the abundance of Moa.

Single instance of high protein source being hunted to extinction. And what else? Proportional percentages of environmental destruction and degradation over time... track record of Māori is far better than Pākehā.

Whilst essentialist distinctions are problematic, cultural approach to understanding interconnectedness of all things and the reciprocal nature of these relationships sits firmly within te ao Māori and far less so within te ao Pākehā.

I note that you and Te K have made flowery but unbacked assertions on this front.

How much of the veneration of pre-european Maori way of life is simply from modern liberal-academic revisionism? The aim is to delegitimise colonization by putting maori on a false pedestal.

If you look at the history of pretty much all world civilisations, the only difference is that Europeans acquired the means to dominate first, and most effectively. Few others have a genuine moral high ground. But we judge other races by the norms of their time and society.

If anything is lacking substance, it's your comment BI. I grew up with rahui on the coast whenever fishing was poor, watched elders discuss it. You should do some reading instead of shooting your mouth off.

What the heck does 'liberal-academic revisionism' actually mean? Are you saying you distrust research or just perspectives different to yours in general?

Whilst it's true that the first 200 years of settlement by Māori resulted in large forest fires etc, the salient point is that they learnt excellent resource management thereafter.

I can appreciate your concern that colonialism should not be deligitimised through a binary comparison to Māori. It should be deligitimised because it is unjust.

I do disagree with your some of your assertions however. 'Most civilisations' is both very broad and appears to assume that 'successful' societies are 'civilised'. If we want to talk about historical capacity to dominate, then Europeans were latecomers.. but to assume that all cultures are fundamentally the 'same' is particular to Western culture - it often validates its worst excesses by claiming universality.

You're starting to grow on me JP, you build your argument logically and articulately.

Thanks. I did my doctorate on intercultural metaphysics. That's enough to probably identify me.

"is simply from modern liberal-academic revisionism?"

Yup, that's the problem. Then it becomes truth. Then we pull down the statues (burn the books) and avoid the uncomfortable.

The most successful humanoid group on the planet, has been the Australian Aboriginals. They too drove bigger species to extinction, but they are a lesson in the level of draw-down required for continuance.

5 - That will only result in a pleasant outcome if the required egalitarian, thoughtful, pragmatic, caring, long-visioned and sparse population exists. If a self-centred, short sighted , corrupt, fear driven population is more typical - then results will vary.

Plant more native trees - everywhere. Incentivise low power and low water use. Get real about being predator free through subsidies. Encourage collectivisation of resources - libraries for tech, tools, transport etc. Decentralise power production so that EVs become mobile recharging stations to domiciles and vice versa. Invest in more maglev wind generation. Diversify diversify diversify!

Probably makes me a communist again..

The next big idea is that we harvest the forests we plant, use the wood as bio-fuel, extract carbon dioxide from exhaust gases and pump CO2 down into the old Maui and Kapuni gas wells when those are finished. Think of it as really expensive solar energy, with a little bit of fracking added in for fun.

At what EROEI?

We don't sequester NOW, and we're unable to repay the extant debt. You think we can construct a ayatem which sequesters wood-residue?



It would take more than the total food producing area on the planet planted in trees to offset the sum of the world's carbon emissions. Indicates the futility of using offsets instead of going after the main culprit which is modern living. Would be interesting to see what the reduction in NZ,s emissions was during lockdown.

Just quietly, don’t think Labour are much better...

Wow. The debate on financial matters on here is sometimes useful, sometimes random but I'm shocked to see such overwhelming rejection of climate emergency initiatives. A common reason seems to be "NZ is too small to make any difference". Imagine if we had taken that approach re Covid-19! We are a blip in the global Covid stats but showed that it could be done in a relatively open society. I had high hopes that our "care for others - not just myself" response to the virus would lead to a better response to climate issues. But clearly not. I have downgraded my judgement of the intelligence of a number of contributors on here accordingly.

"care for others - not just myself" doesn't apply when it's your livelihood and community being threatened. It's called human nature. ;-)
The late Sir Rob Fenwick, a noted NZ environmentalist and philanthropist, stated during a speech I attended, 'Respect your detractors' in relation to environment debates. It is something I remind myself every time I hear an opposing view.
Covid-19 and climate change are not comparable. Covid-19 is here and now, climate change equivalent is around 50years or more away - almost two generations. I and many other commentators on this site, of a similar generation will be dead by then.
IMO there are more pressing issues in NZ such as having the 7th highest child homicide rate in the OECD, in the top 15 for suicide, a rising youth unemployment rate, increasing child poverty etc etc. Right now, we are failing our vulnerable children and youth - world leading failures.

Errr......climate change is also here and now. Our livelihood and community are being threatened. And not only by climate change and covid - neoliberal economics does a pretty good job as well of damaging both

We should care greatly about future generations. Agree about failing the youth, and the high rates of domestic violence and suicide.

I don't believe it's an either or situation - these are complex issues that have a similar root cause

There has never been a better time to be alive. It is patent bullocks to suggest anyone is being threatened by the climate.

"Historically, droughts and floods were the most fatal disaster events. Deaths from these events are now very low – the most deadly events today tend to be earthquakes."


dchbwz - Agreed.

Profile - predictable bollocks. It's being done via draw-down and matters are (obviously, one would have thought) coming to a head.

CO - and others of well-meaning bent upthread - miss the Systems (you'd think a metaphysics-including doctorate would qualify, but there you go) nature of our dilemma. It all, at base-line, boils down to energy. Solar in origin, but we tap into stores of it, like hunted animals, firewood, fossilised (oil/coal/gas). The problem comes when those who live at ease due to tapping into a massive, one-off store of the stuff, forget that they are doing this. Perhaps they have to, to avoid the unpleasant ramifications of what they're not leaving for future generations. Thus too, they have to address CC to ease their consciences, but see it as a long-enough game to conveniently justify continuing their present consumption patterns. Then they write their takes on history, sans energy. Thus it disintegrates into stories about personalities and power.

Without fossil energy, life is precarious. The energy margin - which has to always remain positive - is thin. And resources get used beyond their replenishment rate. Every human grouping does this, it is hard indeed not to impact. You run out of trees big enough to build ocean-going vessels from (Egypt, Tonga, Easter Island) and you are stuck. Then you overrun your resource-base, or have to have some pretty rigid population-curtailment measures (cannibalism, sacrifice, spear-blooding).

These same folk will insist that NZ can carry 5, 10 or whatever billion (the Green's Genter lives with one such claimant) without asking what percentage of current carrying is done by FF. Take FF away, and capacity is south of 2 million. Probably well south. Take global trade away, live like Cuba (at best) and North Korea (worse) and see how many we can carry! Solar energy is best in the tropics; less seasonality, more heat, less need for bodily insulation. Thus Cuba had a better chance than NK, when Russia fell. Thus you know that the further south the Maori came (migration to NZ, then within) the more it was under duress. The winning tribes bagged the north, the losers went south (despite predictable denials, which will include the ignorance of energy's supreme importance). The Maori visited Enderby Island once, and never went back. Why? Too little energy in the southern sun, to much chill-factor, too-long winters. In extremis, Inuit ate their young because they could raise more later, whereas if they had sacrificed themselves the young wouldn't have survived to breed. It is a tenuous thing, life, in energy terms.

And if you have too many of your species, you will get anger, depression, suicide, poverty. Only one way to address it; de-populate. Even that won't be enough if not done fast enough and you allow depletion to outpace your reduction.

But next time I sail past a Maori-owned bottom-trawler trudging back and forth, I'll see them as respecting the benthic community. I'll see that I was wrong. :)

Well written CO, those stats are abhorent and a national shame. No one is saying reducing CO2 is a bad idea, but if your plan is to lock-up NZ as a pine ghetto so large multinationals can be carbon neutral, the I guess I am anti-CC.

Why do we always seperate these issues? Maybe they are interconnected, but everyone wants to seperate them and tackle each individually. The older I get, the more I see how strongly they are connected, and require an approach that recognizes this.

There is no such thing a a "free lunch"

Someone has to pay in the end.


Whatever next.....WW2.

There is no such thing a a "free lunch"

Someone has to pay in the end.


Whatever next.....WW2.

Global warming is a bit like Covid 19 in two important ways: Firstly our reaction to the problem could be worse than the thing it was trying to solve and secondly the claims of the catastrophists are based on flaky computer models.

So far the predictions of so-called climate experts have been entirely wrong, so the last thing we should be doing is committing economic suicide on the basis of little more than a fairy story.

I'm fairly sure National is aware of this but lacks the balls to go public with it because the left wing controlled media would pile in on them.

We've moved on, sorry. Your comment is from a decade ago.

CC is real, and will bite humankind in the bum. But it isn't first cab off the rank.

National are irrelevant, and will be increasingly so. A little like Darwin-resisting clergy were. Unfettered growth within a bounded system only ends one way, so they were championing short-term stupidity. Like almost everyone else,,,,

Climate is a Fair Weather Friend of Humans. There can be no fixed/permanent policies on this. In many instances, it is political. The public views are rarely taken into account while deciding policies. Only some random polls are taken. It is only when activists gather momentum then the governments start to listen.
It is a long process.