Helen had to miss out on the gala dinner in Singapore where she received a trophy made of recycled metal from the UN for being one of seven winners in the annual UN Champions of the Earth awards.Now Helen’s record on carbon emissions is worse than George W Bush and John Howard. Kyoto is all about what percentage increase or decrease one should have over 1990 levels and George and John did better than Helen in being closer to their target.
NZ has the fourth worst actual record of annex 1 countries in terms of meeting our Kyoto obligations (we are 29% over target) so one can only conclude, the award is yet another indication of the UN’s long demonstrated preference for rhetoric over substance. Typical UN – does not matter what you do in practice, as long as you churn out the right rhetoric!
But while its great policy, none of this stuff has actually been implemented yet, so Clark has essentially been given this award on the basis of hot air.
I am not sure the policy is that great. They have yet to pass a single policy through Parliament. Their biofuels legislation has been rubbished by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and their Emission scheme by Greenpeace. Their Fart Tax failed due to the hypocrisy of treatment of debits and credits.
The future price of carbon is so uncertain, that I more and more think a carbon tax in the short term would be better than the tradeable emissions scheme. Under some dire scenarios the scheme could wipe out out food export sector. from Radio NZ yesterday:
Federated Farmers says the Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme has the potential to extingish [sic] extinguish food exports from New Zealand. The comments are based on a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report which shows the projected impacts of the trading scheme on farmers’ profitsm a range of different carbon prices and the corresponding financial impact the scheme would have on different sectors such as sheep, beef, dairy, horticulture and deer. The figures analyse the impact the Emissions Trading Scheme would have had on the sectors if it had been introduced without warning in mid-2006. Among the worst affected sectors are deer, sheep and beef, greenhouse tomatoes and dairy. Federated Farmers’ Dairy Section Chairman Frank Brenmuhl says based on the projections for a payout of $4.14 per kilo of milk solids and a full carbon price of $50 per tonne the average drop in farmers’ profits would be 123%.
Now for those who only have a degree in economic history, a 123% drop in profits means you will be losing money. In other words no food production at all. So we will meet out Kyoto target by importing all our food from overseas. Hmmn that will be great eh.
UPDATE: The Greens’ Frog Blog is also weighing in, comparing Helen Clark getting an award for being a Champion of the Earth to Brian Waddle being named Black Cap of the Year for his cricket commentary. Shit that is funny – Frog is being more sarcastic than me!