To Nick Smith from Bruce B 25 July 2009

Dear Mr. Smith,

I wish to submit the following comments concerning New Zealands plans to meet international obligations of Emissions Control by the year 2020.

It is noted that the NZ Government claims to be "working actively to secure an effective global agreement on climate change to succeed the Kyoto Protocol after 2012."

The Government of which you are a Minister has said: "An important issue in these international negotiations is the commitment New Zealand makes on a greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020.." which has "..significant ramifications for New Zealand households and businesses."

Your Ministry has stated that "We need to balance the need to make progress in reducing emissions to protect the environment with the impacts on jobs, investments and costs to consumers."

The present proposal is to announce this country's policy target for 2020 " the next stage of international negotiations in Bonn in August."

I note that, so far, New Zealand has failed to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Agreement to the extent of adding a further 28% to our emissions rather than reducing them, but that this is balanced by the planting and continued growth of forests. A concern held by negotiators is that the forests are due to be felled during the 2020s, and this is seen as contributing to our shortfall in reducing emissions because the forests form a 'carbon sink' which reduces our overall burden on the environment.

However, what has not been included in these calculations is the re-planting of the harvested forests and further expansion of forestry development, both of which may enable the present balance to be maintained.

Your Ministry also states that "The Government’s main policy tool to reduce emissions is an Emissions Trading Scheme that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Changes to the scheme are being considered as part of a Select Committee Review and discussions with Australia on harmonisation with their similar Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme."

Your Ministry has also claimed that "Our target needs to be realistic so we do not put our economy at risk or damage our good international reputation by failing to deliver. It must also be sufficient to protect the environment and associated economic and social benefits into the future."

Arguments for a low level proposal for 2020 carbon emission levels advanced by your Ministry are that New Zealand has the 3rd lowest GDP per capita among developed countries which are party to the Kyoto Agreement, that New Zealand has the 2nd highest population growth since 1990 among the same grouping of countries, and that there is an unusually high cost to reducing emissions in New Zealand because of its unique emission profile where most of the emissions concerned are the product of agricultural activity in a country regarded as developed.

I note that the present debate concerns this country's proposals outlining its intention "to meet a particular emission level by 2020."

Previous agreements have been made to reduce the nation's levels of emissions, as measured in 1990, by 50% by 2050. The present need is to establish a commitment to reach part of this reduction by 2020.

My personal comment is that two-fold. First I would counter the claims of any need to reduce the emission of so-called pollutant carbon-emissions by questioning the conclusions of "global-warming scientists" who have attempted to force their observations into an interpretation which flies in the face of longer-term evidence of changes in global climate conditions. For example, it is established that during the Peleozoic Era, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were up to twenty times higher than in the present era, and this had no corellation with average air temperatures. This is from information published in a study from Yale University, in American Journal of Science, Vol 301, February 2001, pp 182-204.

There is further evidence to support the lack of relationship between levels of carbon in the atmosphere and world temperatures, but this short comment has not room enough to contain it. I refer you to a document which does contain much of it: "Aircon", by Ian Wishart, pp 31-37, Published 2009, Howling at the Moon Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9582401-4-7.

Second, I would suggest that, while a goal of zero is the sanest response to this erroneous demand, since your Government is party to an agreement which unwisely decided to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, and you have thereby committed this nation to such an insane proposal, and have said you must be seen to be doing something, that you might consider just that: be seen to be doing something.

For this to happen, your Ministry might look at proposing a minimum reduction of that which is doing no harm and thus ensure the policy does as little harm as possible on the economy and well-being of the nation.

It should be borne in mind that the forestry planting, development, harvesting, and re-planting referred to above is an on-going process which should be encouraged to increase the effect of carbon-absorption as time goes by. The argument for gas being absorbed by other features of the environment, principally water and grass and undeveloped land, should be persued vigorously. Thus a balance might be achieved even against the warped thinking of those who produced the present predicament.

Thus, I urge you to consider proposing that New Zealand should intend to meet somewhere between zero and two percent reduction in emission levels by 2020, with similar conditions to those proposed by Australia to enable a slight increase above two percent.

I trust these views to you, for consideration along with all other views submitted.

Yours faithfully, Bruce