Sunday, November 30, 2008

NZHerald article: Stop freezing the ETS!

A piece in the NZ Herald today recommends that the govt. should stop freezing the ETS:

"...the decision does harm to New Zealand's clean green brand. It
undermines our environmental integrity and makes us look silly on the
international stage.

In a world sensitive to environmental performance, it may have consequences for marketing of our primary products and could well impact on our attractiveness as an international tourist destination. We really must walk the talk on environmental policy. The Government should think again."

The rumblings are getting louder - get your letter written so the message gets through!

(thanks Stephanie for posting this link to the comments!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Letter from an expat!

Here's another great letter that has been sent (supplied to us by email):

Dear Prime Minister,
I write as an expat, living and working in London, yet following the affairs of New Zealand with great interest. While I did not vote for your party, I hope that the next parliamentary term will nevertheless deliver some key results that I care about, in this case, relating to climate change.

I was impressed with the swiftness at which you negotiated with the smaller parties and in particular your inclusion of the Maori Party into your coalition arrangements. While I anticipated Act's inclusion, I was concerned to hear of the proposed review of climate change legislation, in particular the ETS. I am concerned because there was an agreement with Act that as part of this review, there will be a review of the basic science of whether climate change exists.

I am convinced through what I have seen in the world's varied media sources that 'disagreement' within the scientific world over the basic science of climate change is manufactured - it is the illusory product of the oft-embraced need to present 'balanced' reporting, that is, contrasting views on a particular subject. I am convinced of the concept of anthropogenic climate change, that is, factors relating to human behaviour that have aggravated environmental cycles on this planet.

New Zealand is a traditional maverick on the world stage in environmental matters: we have distinguished ourselves in our assured departure from ANZUS - to which you referred while here in London - and we capitalise on and encourage our "100%" clean, green image. Not a week goes by without my receiving some sort of recognition of New Zealand's image on the world stage - it is almost invariably one of respect, whether talking about our rugby players, our countryside, or more often (and in sometimes derisory terms), our sheep.

It is therefore most concerning that, at a time when the US president-elect Barack Obama is wielding the spotlight of world attention on to climate change, we should display such petulance and aloofness to assume that global scientists are not in satisfactorily majoritarian agreement of the basic science of climate change, and that a group of politicians from New Zealand should not need to take them seriously.

I would like you to do the following:
- Strike out the review of the basic science
- Insist on a narrow focus - primarily, the cost to New Zealand, economically and politically, of further delays

In light of the environmental demands I am making, I am sure you will appreciate my decision to communicate via email.

Finally, I would like to congratulate you on winning the election - my political beliefs notwithstanding - and I hope that you will provide in your leadership and the policies of your government the surest rebuttal to the National Party's prominent image as a bunch of Hollow Men.

Kind regards,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another great letter to look at!

Make Tea Not War has put her letter to John Key on her blog!

And a great letter it is too!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Advice from those who know

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn has passed on a bit of advice he has received. It runs like this:

  • The select committee will get set up through the "Business Committee" like normal (or through an informal equivalent if the Biz Cttee hasn't been put together properly yet)
  • That means you can also target the people on the Biz Cttee who will influence things like the size and make-up of the Select Committee!

MPs to write to for this (just stick their name above "Parliament Buildings" and it will get to their desk):
  • Darren Hughes and Steve Chadwick
  • Meteria Turei (we think)
  • Nathan Guy and Craig Foss
  • Te Ururoa Flavell
  • and Lockwood Smith, who as Speaker will chair the Business Committee.
The advice also says that aiming for 12 MPs doesn't go far enough!

"I'd be inclined to go for the full reduction ad absurdam, and not just 12 MPs on the cttee. Go for 24 or even 30! Make a real circus. In the unlikely event it was that big, a) the Nats would have to turn out en bloc every time to make sure they were not outvoted b) it would take up so much of people's time the focus would be narrow, to get the thing finished. "

So there you go - the latest word from those who know!

A letter gets posted...

Photographic evidence of posting a letter! Woo!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Someone blogged their letter!

Stronger Light has blogged the letter they sent to John Key.

Respect! Let's see some more!

Carbon News: NZ now a joke in Europe!

Scoop carries a press release from Carbon News, a website full of detailed info about the financial carbon trading markets. The world doesn't like the signals from Rodney-ised John Key:

“We have just fallen off the radar in Europe,” he said. “They are saying ‘all you do is talk. You’ve been talking since 1992. You are all talk and no action. You maintain that you are so clean and green and try to be leaders and all you do is nothing. You make a decision and then you change your minds. How can we do business with people like that? We can’t take your seriously’.”

There's more, pointing out that the economics of the world are shifting and we have to start catching up:

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and sustainability specialist Julia Hoare says New Zealand business will have to account for its carbon – regardless of whether it is through an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax.

“The sooner New Zealand businesses understand what a price on carbon means – whether it’s delivered through an ETS or through a carbon tax – the better... Whatever the politics and mechanics of it might be, we are moving into a carbon-constrained world, and business has to understand that.”

Brian Rudman

There was a great piece by Brian Rudman in the Herald last week:

Ditch fruitcake views on climate change

"Obviously new Prime Minister John Key felt he had to toss these trinkets to Act to ensure its support in propping up his Government.

Of more concern is his indulging Mr Hide in his fruitcake views on global warming. As part of the deal, Mr Key has agreed to a climate change select committee.

Attached as first appendix to the coalition agreement is Act's terms of reference, top of which is a requirement that the scientific case be relitigated.

It reads: "The committee shall hear competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change from internationally respected sources and assess the quality and impartiality of official advice."

The small print of the coalition agreement says these "terms of reference" are "an initial basis for discussion", but the fact that Prime Minister Key is happy to give official credence to this nuttiness risks making New Zealand, and him, a laughing stock."

There's lots of good stuff in there - read the rest. I especially like the final point:
National campaigned on reviewing the way New Zealand meets our Kyoto treaty obligations to reduce our carbon footprint. That's fine. Act's global warming denial policy was not part of the deal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ask for a narrow focus!

In their agreement with National, ACT proposed some Terms of Reference for the Select Committee. They said, "here's what we think the SC should have to work through!" and John Key said, well, we'll have to see about that.

You can see ACT's proposal for yourself as Appendix 1: find it here.

John Key has explicitly said this is a starting point for negotiation. We want to influence that negotiation. What we want is for that big long list to be stripped down the bare slender minimum, so the SC can get through its work super-fast.

So -

  • no investigation of science - we've covered that one already.
  • no investigation of whether we should do anything at all - we've made an international commitment to reduce emissions, and we should be sticking to it.
  • no time spent second-guessing the future - we already know what direction the world is going in, we need to start going there too
  • no waiting for Copenhagen 2009 - same reason as above!
  • no wasting time on an "adaptation approach" - this just means, "we'll do nothing and then try and cope as the world around us goes down the toilet". We need to start making changes!
  • etc. etc.
Instead of all this guff, the SC should focus on identifying the best way to reduce emissions and minimise the cost to the taxpayer (and that means, how to tweak the ETS to improve it). We don't need anything else.

In fact, a lot of that nonsense could be replaced by one entirely new point. You might want to ask for something like this in your letter:
"As a first priority, the select committee should consider the costs to New Zealand's international standing and economic wellbeing of further delays."

Because the bottom line is this: we have obligations now, and they are costing us money now. We can't escape that fact. So we need to get this done and dusted fast.

And that is why you should ask for a narrow focus.

Ask for the "review of the science" to get the chop!

Rodney Hide thinks that climate change is all a big scam.

He's wrong. Straight-up wrong, no two ways about it. There is massive agreement that climate change is real, and it is caused by our lifestyles - and particularly by our carbon emissions.

The climate scientists agree. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an enormous, reputable, incredible project that has run for many years to cautiously review knowledge in dozens of fields about climate change - and it all shows that climate change is real. NZ's own science organization, the Royal Society, say the same thing.

But it isn't just them. Politicians agree, too. Barack Obama agrees. So does Kevin Rudd. That's the US and Australia, our major trading partners, sorting themselves out while we lag behind.

Who else? Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger! And Tony Blair! And pretty much everyone, everywhere, who has power and responsibility.

And who else? Why, only a particular chap named John Key:
The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is real and it’s threatening the planet. There are some armchair sceptics out there, but I’m not one of them.

Ultimately, we don't need a review of the science, because the Royal Society and the IPCC have done all that hard work for us. The select committee should just get on with asking, what next?

And that's why we think the review of the science should get the chop!

(Note: If you want to get into the actual science of it, I recommend kicking off at NZ's very own clearing house for climate change knowledge, the Hot Topic blog by Gareth Renowden.)

Ask for a large Select Committee!

We here at "Don't Be A Rodney, John Key" reckon that you should ask for a large select committee, rather than a small one.

Select Committees are groups of MPs who get together to work through particular issues. There are rules in place about the size of the SC and which parties the members are from. There are some tricks to this though...

As far as possible, the SC membership must be in proportion to the House, but this counts across all the various SCs, not in each one. So if we get a small committee (7 members), it will be possible to stack it in an uneven way, perhaps to keep another small party away from the table.

If we get a large committee (12 members), though, we get representation from every party. That will make sure that everyone has their say, in particular the Greens, who you can count on to say "stop wasting time on this nonsense, let's save the planet already!"

And that's why we want a large committee.