I'm tempted to create a new example of Lurgee's Paradigm (2), because anyone who claims a 10% cut in co2 emissions is credible is either a fool or someone who - fundamentally- isn't facing up to reality.
The government's attitude is typified by Nick Smith's attempt to spin this. Defnding the this crappy non-proposal, and effectively giving a huge two fingers to pacific nations struggling with climate change, Smith tried to pretend that the cuts faced are going to be huge, citing the increase in gross emissions as 24.6% above 1990 levels. But that's scaremongering, because net emmssions are less than 5% above 1990 levels (3).
Anyone who bandies the gross figure about, with out qualification, is a liar or a fool.
It shows where the government thinks its interest lie. While the EU is offering a unilateral 20% cut (4), and the possibility of a 30% cut if there is agreement, New Zealand is aligning itself with the USA, with its insistence that - as the world's largest per capita emiter - it needs special consideration.
If National were serious about addressing this issue, they would be aligning themsleves with the EU, so as to strengthen their position and force the USA to go that little biit further. Instead, National has gone the other way, and our voice at Copenhagen will be one calling for less and less, not more an more. Is it too cynical to wonder why Key is so eager to align New Zealand with the USA on this issue? The other day, Key announced the SAS would return to Afghanistan, a blood for butter deal with the USA (5). Now it seems we're offerring flood for butter as well.
The usual excuse is that New Zealand is a tiny contributor to the problem. THat is true, but that is looking at it with one eye covered. New Zealand also stands to suffer, disproportionately, the consequences of climate change.
Pacific Islanders aren't going to decamp to Europe, but to Austalasia. Our economy is based on importing and exporting and tourism. We don't have land borders. We're totally dependedt on sea and air transport. If the world economy changes drastically, which will happen if climate change isn't limited, the effects will be greatest here.
1 - "Ifs and buts in NZ emissions targets," by Brian Fallow, published in the New Zealand Herald, 11th of August, 2009. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10589964)
2 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/search/label/Lurgee%27s%20Paradigm
3 - "New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and its
obligations under the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) and
possible future agreements," fact sheet published by the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute. No date of publication given. (http://www.victoria.ac.nz/climate-change/media-centre/fact-sheets/NZCCRI_Factsheet_1_GHG_emissions_and_targets_rev.pdf)
4 - "Offers of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions," unattributed Reuters article, published 10th of August, 2009. (http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLA352583)
5 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/08/specualting-with-new-zealanders-lives.html