Thursday, 6 August 2009

Key's climate credibility chasm

Speaking on climate change and the consequences for people living on the Pacific Islands, John Key fell back on a typical Kiwi "She'll be alright" response, in place of any substantial policy:

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand would support countries if it came to relocating people.

"It would be my hope that we would never come to that," he said. (1)

Hope is all very nice, and we should alwas encourage hope - the alternative isn't much fun - but in te case of climate change, a bit more than hope is needed. But there are limits to the power of positive thinking, and John Key may be about to discover that there are some problems too intractable to be resolved by a goofy smirk and an drawing on his Every Day Kiwi Bloke charm. Global weather patterns are not well known for responding to insouciant likeability.

Key goes on to display either embarrassing ignorance or deliberate dishonesty by saying:
"You're talking about countries being submerged and I haven't seen any advice that that is an imminent likelihood." (2)
No, John, it isn't about countries being submerged. They'll be rendered uninhabitable long before that. I suppose 'imminent' means before the next election? Is that really as far ahead as you can think?

Key and his government refuse to endorse any policy what-so-ever, indicating they will eventually opt for the most mediocre target possible (3), because they don't want to be seen to buck the OECD consensus by pushing for bigger cuts. Which is a spineless and hypocritical response, because if New Zealand - a country that will bear the brunt of population displacement - isn't too worried to demand strong targets, why should anyone else care on our behalf?

Key is a man who made his money in currency speculation - a make believe world, not noted for its concern with the long term, or the consequences of its actions in the real world where people actually have to spend the money. Which might explain Key's refusal to take climate change seriously. As he reasons it, climate change probably isn't happening. If it is, a reduction of 15% will probably be enough. If it isn't, the populations of the pacific isalnds probably will be able to stay where they are. If they aren't, it'll be someone else's problem, as Key will have retired by then.

Perhaps John Key should have heeded his advice to Keisha Castle-Hughes (3) and stuck to what he knew. In his case, currency speculation.
1 - "Pacific populations being prepared for relocation," unattributed NZPA article. Reproduced in the National Business Review, 6th of August, 2009. (
2 - ibid.
3 - 'Greenhouse gases target likely to be 15%, says Key
,' unattributed Radio New Zealand News stroy, published 28th of July, 2009. (
4 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm:

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