A Threat to Freedom and Prosperity- NZCPR Weekly

The current Global Warming Debate is not about temperature or CO2 levels. It is an ideological clash between those who want to change us (rather than the climate) and those who believe in freedom, markets, human ingenuity, and technical progress. The advocates of global warming alarmism ask for an almost unprecedented expansion of government intrusion, of government intervention into our lives and of government control over us. We are pushed into accepting rules about how to live, what to do, how to behave, what to consume, what to eat, how to travel. It is unacceptable.
Hon Vaclav Klaus, President Czech Republic.[1]

National’s Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill is now in front of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. Submissions close on the 13th of October, giving a

scandalously short time frame for the preparation of submissions on legislation of this scale.[2]

Emissions’ trading is the biggest government policy to be imposed on New Zealand in recent times and promises to be just as invasive and cancerous as income tax (which has been around since 1891). The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that National intends to inflict on the country is more ambitious than any other emissions trading scheme in the world, in that it covers all sectors of the economy and all greenhouse gases. No-one will escape the cost of the ETS as it not only forces up the price of fuel and electricity, but of all other goods and services as well. And while National claims to have reduced the estimated cost to households, the fine print reveals that costs are only contained as a result of subsidies. Once the transition period ends in 2013, consumers will face a massive price shock. 

In light of the major impact that this policy will have on households, businesses and the economy as a whole, it would be reasonable to expect the National Party to provide a full cost-benefit analysis to the public. In fact, they promised to do just that when they signed their post-election agreement with the ACT Party. This information was to take the form of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), a tool that

is supposed to provide a high-level summary of the problem being addressed, the options being considered, and their associated costs and benefits. If the proposal is deemed to have a 'significant impact on economic growth', then Treasury's Regulatory Impact Analysis Team will examine the RIS to see whether it is adequate.

In spite of National’s promise, a “high quality” RIS was never produced. While the Ministry for the Environment’s analysis in the Bill is called an RIS, Treasury has stated, “the level and quality of analysis presented is not commensurate with the significance of the proposals” and “the RIS does not provide an adequate basis for informed decision-making.”[3]

That says it all. The Government’s economic advisory unit believes that the analysis undertaken by the Climate Change Minister, Nick Smith, and the National Party to justify this massive government intervention in our lives is not based on anything like a proper analysis. So what is it based on?

According to Nick Smith, the government has investigated the evidence on the science of climate change from a number of different sources and is satisfied that the most reliable information is that provided by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). So here we have the unbelievable situation where New Zealand’s domestic economic policy is being dictated to by the UN!

In Opposition, National railed against Helen Clark, who grandstanded on wanting New Zealand to become the world’s first carbon neutral sustainable nation. They countered that New Zealand should not be a world leader, nor a laggard, but that we should do our “fair share”. However, in spite of such moderation - which undoubtedly helped National win the 2008 general election - Nick Smith is now claiming world leadership: “On 1 July 2010 New Zealand will have the first emissions trading scheme up and running outside Europe, and it will cover more sectors than the European scheme does. We were also the first country in the world to include forestry, in 2008, and we were the very first country in the world to have a plan for introducing agriculture, in 2015. If we can settle our emissions trading scheme by December, we will be at the front end of international action on climate change, and will actually have the most comprehensive emissions trading scheme of any country in the world.”[4]

While our proposed ETS is being recognised internationally, it is not the sort of recognition the National Party would have hoped for. The editorial appearing last week in the Wall Street Journal had this to say, The global warming religion runs so deep today that most politicians figure it's best enact some sort of green policy, regardless of whether or not that policy actually reduces global warming. Exhibit number one is New Zealand”.[5]

They explain how Nick Smith has claimed that the new emissions trading scheme takes “a responsible approach to the climate-change problem caused by greenhouse gas emissions while being realistic about how much a small country like New Zealand can contribute”.

The Journal then states, “What Mr Smith didn’t say is that from an environmental perspective, it doesn’t really matter what New Zealand does. The island nation contributes 0.2% of total global emissions. The amended scheme isn't expected to reduce even that already-miniscule figure much.”

The editorial points out that the cost of the scheme could reach more than $2.2 billion and they conclude with the following quote: “The Nationals are pushing to pass the bill before the December United Nations climate-change meeting. ‘This emissions-trading scheme will be the first of any country outside of Europe and, as of 1 July 2010, will be the most comprehensive,’ Mr. Smith enthused. But to what end?”

To what end indeed! Does Nick Smith want to follow Helen Clark to a top job at the UN? Or does he just want to be a big cheese at Copenhagen? Whatever the motivation, National is most definitely ensuring that New Zealand is making an impact on the international stage – as a laughing stock for the extreme and totally unnecessary penalties we are imposing on ourselves!

All of this is deeply troubling. That our government is unquestioningly imposing the UN’s radical global warming agenda on New Zealand leads to serious questions about the competency of our current political leadership.

Don’t they know the IPCC is not a scientific body, but a political one? And are they not aware of the growing scandal over doctored data that invalidates the whole basis of the IPCC’s global warming claims of an unprecedented 20th Century warming trend?[6]

Are they not aware that the IPCC’s forecasting procedures have been found to be so error-ridden that their models are in gross disagreement with real life observation? Haven’t they noticed that while the IPCC claims that the planet is on the brink of catastrophic global warming, over the last 11 years temperatures have not been rising, but falling?

Don’t they realise that throughout the whole history of the earth, when the climate has been many times warmer than it is today, carbon dioxide has never been the driver of global temperature?[7]

Associate Professor Chris de Freitas, this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, is a climate scientist at Auckland University. He explains that in spite of billions of dollars being poured into global warming research, “no one has yet found even a shred of objective scientific evidence that shows that humans are causing damaging global climate change”. He condemns the government for failing to ensure they receive ‘independent’ scientific advice rather than relying on scientists with vested interests who are associated with the IPCC.

“The IPCC has been complicit in the scaremongering and exaggeration. The IPCC is a governmental institution that selectively accepts and rejects critical comments from expert reviewers of its reports, as my climate science colleagues and I can prove, having been part of the IPPC-managed review process. The IPCC has been a major driver of global warming hysteria”.

With the United Nations busily hyperventilating about global warming catastrophes as it tries to create a sense of urgency ahead of its meeting in Copenhagen in December to negotiate a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, Dr de Freitas observes that nature is refusing to oblige: “Eighteen years of global warming came to an end in 1998. Currently, we are in the eleventh year of a global temperature stasis. Sea levels, which have been rising for the past 300 years, show no sign of acceleration. Antarctica is cooling. Hurricane activity is down. Annual average Arctic sea ice extent, which is determined largely by wind and ocean currents, is increasing once again…”

If you feel strongly that the proposed emissions trading bill is wrong for New Zealand, then you must act. Either put in a submission before the 13th, or share your concerns with Government MPs, the Minister, or

the Prime Minister. You might want to write a letter to the editor, phone talkback, forward this newsletter to other concerned people on your mailing list, or join the blogosphere and have your say! A lot is at stake - the cost of this ill-advised legislation will fall on taxpayers, as well as unsubsidised businesses, some of whom will be forced to close their doors, while others will be pushed offshore to countries where there are no such schemes, taking their jobs and investment with them. Meanwhile, there are others who are already rubbing their hands with glee as they get ready to make their fortune out of this ETS!

What is especially disturbing about this state of affairs is the government’s unseemly haste to rush this legislation through ahead of the Copenhagen meeting, when reports are already emerging about a change in emphasis. Rather than trying to impose binding emissions reductions targets at Copenhagen (that require complex and costly ETS schemes), it appears likely that countries will be asked to “put in what they want to commit to."[8] This means that governments such as our own could have used the opportunity to put forward innovative proposals that are much more appropriate for New Zealand, such as planting Kauri forests on suitable Department of Conservation land using unemployed workers. Ideas which would be of long-term benefit to the country, should surely take precedence over a wealth-destroying ETS which will penalise our prosperity and threaten our freedom.

Muriel Newman

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