Helen’s legacy

November 18th, 2008 at 12:33 pm by David Farrar

The UN has just published the 2006 greenhouse gas data. It will be another two years for us to see the full impact of Helen’s legacy of total rhetoric and no action. But here are how different countries compare between 1999 and 2006.

Helen talked of reducing net emissions to zero. is about getting them back to 1990 levels. But surely Helen managed to at least keep them constant? Nope. From 1999 to 2006, this is the net increase (including offsetting with land use and forests) for various countries:

  1. Sweden -61.8%
  2. Norway -31.8%
  3. Estonia -23.4%
  4. Monaco -21.4%
  5. Finland -9.2%
  6. France -6.3%
  7. Belgium -5.3%
  8. Hungary -4.6%
  9. Slovakia -4.5%
  10. Poland -4.3%
  11. Denmark -3.4%
  12. Netherlands -3.2%
  13. United Kingdom -2.6%
  14. Germany -2.0%
  15. European Community -0.9%
  16. Portugal 0.9%
  17. Japan 0.9%
  18. United States 0.9%
  19. Italy 2.7%
  20. Ireland 3.0%
  21. Liechtenstein 3.9%
  22. Iceland 5.3%
  23. Bulgaria 6.2%
  24. Greece 7.0%
  25. Australia 8.2%
  26. Czech Republic 8.6%
  27. Switzerland 8.8%
  28. Canada 11.0%
  29. New Zealand 12.0%
  30. Spain 18.0%
  31. Turkey 33.3%

Only two industrialised countries (excluding those who are below their Kyoto targets) have a worse record than New Zealand under .

We are also at 33% over our 1990 Kyoto target. The US is only 14% over, and Australia 7% over. The United Kingdom is 16% under.

If Labour try to claim any sort of moral high ground on , just remember these facts. Helen Clark’s record was one of the worst in the world on .

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46 Responses to “Helen’s legacy”

  1. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Action speak louder than words. Typical Socialist … do as I say, not as I do. All piss and wind.

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  2. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    What will National be doing to rectify the situation?

    [DPF: Focus more on measures that will work, and less on political rhetoric]

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  3. Sam (502 comments) says:

    100% Pure (rhetoric)
    100% Pure (inaction)

    Hope JK can pull a new tourism marketing strategy out of the bag – this current one is 100% Pure trash.

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  4. Sam (502 comments) says:

    Ryan – probably (hopefully) quit talking the talk until we are ready to walk the walk…

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  5. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (922) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Bugger all i hope, the world either wants to be fed or not.

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  6. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    Sam,

    What would make us ready?

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  7. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Whoop! Whoop!

    Elephant In Room Warning!

    The best performers under Kyoto obligations, all have done so by Nuclear Power Usage; OR by economic collapse……..

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  8. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    First, National has a recession. This tends to help bring down emissions. But it is important to recognise what the drivers of GHG emissions are. Bush has done better than Clinton/Gore largely because the US economy slowed down.

    Nonetheless, National looks to have a better forestry policy and aims to increase afforestation rates. A large reason for our blow-out in (net) emissions is that people stopped planting trees. Kyoto was signed when forest plantings in NZ was peaking under large world prices (thanks to the spotted owl). By the early 2000s the lustre of forestry was ebbing- low prices, high exchange rate, high interest rates, rising shipping costs and unpredictable energy prices led to a steady declines in this sector.

    The pissing contest over carbon credits with the Kyoto Forestry Owners Association also cut into the interest in forestry, and musings last year that a $13,000 per ha charge for foresters failing to replant trees did little to instill confidence.

    Forestry companies also observed that ‘signals’ like ending the West Coast Forest Accord meant that Government policy was focused on the short-term and political expedient, rather than long-term and principled. This does not encourage long term investments, like, err, tree plantings.

    It’s hard to see that National will do worse…

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  9. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    If Labour try to claim any sort of moral high ground on climate change, just remember these facts. Helen Clark’s record was one of the worst in the world on carbon emissions.

    These “facts” are worthless, pointless, misleading statistics. Kyoto is a bunch of arse, any moral high ground afforded by Kyoto is an illusion.

    Something that is good for the planet can be bad for Kyoto. A large part of our increase in emissions has come from dairy cows being more profitable now, because the EU has reduced production. For every kg less they produce and kg more we do because the nett effect is 10-15% less AGW gas is produced. This sort of moving to more efficient production is forbidden under Kyoto.

    Something that is bad for the planet can be great for Kyoto. A large part of the reduction of EU emissions has been achieved by outsourcing production of consumer goods to the developing economies. The Chinese plants are less efficient and goods need transport to the EU, but it is great for reducing emissions. Consumption, carbon footprint and waste all increase, but “emissions” are way down.

    The way to assure Labour are not gifted any high ground on Global Warming is to show that what you are proposing to do is better for the planet than Kyoto.

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  10. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    When 50% of New Zealand’s emissions are from the Agriculture sector and with the ever increasing conversion to dairying there will be further increases in our emissions. We have no chance to go back to 1990 emission levels until someone finds a way to lessen greenhouse emissions in Agriculture and Dairying. No other OCED country is more dependent on Agriculture than we are. No other OCED has such a high ratio of emissions coming from Agriculture and Dairying. Its not like we can get rid of Agriculture and Dairying. Do that and our economy is gone.

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  11. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    We are also disadvantaged by not having any native ruminants.

    Deer, elk and moose in the northern hemisphere countries don’t count towards their GHG emissions. Elephants and antelope in Africa don’t produce GHG emissions. Well, technically they do, but we don’t count them. Emissions from wild animals have been excluded from Kyoto calculations. It’s only domesticated farm animals that count towards Kyoto.

    It’s just another hidden hook in the Kyoto treaty, which created all kinds of implicit subsidies to the European agricultural sector.

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  12. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Sheesh…Sweden at it again…again. Worth noting that they instigated a carbon tax seventeen years ago (albeit with a bunch of concessions):

    More broadly, is there anything Britain could learn from Sweden? “Homes have virtually no insulation in Britain. You could do a lot just by doing more of that,” says Johansson. “When a building is renovated in Sweden, it can be properly insulated and renovated, cutting energy consumption by at least half.”

    “Impose a carbon tax,” suggests Lindberg. “You would make it more attractive financially to go for green solutions than for carbon options.”
    “A carbon tax is the most cost-effective way to make carbon cuts and it does not prevent strong economic growth,” adds Carlgren.

    Maybe we should ask them to cure cancer if they’ve got a bit of spare time?

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  13. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    So chthoniid and others the measurements are all bull shit which some of us suspected and its really all a giant con to fleece the citizens of tax by governemnts and higher prices by big business

    face it Thats what these crapola is really all about Always follow the money

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  14. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    We are also disadvantaged by not having any native ruminants.

    Deer, elk and moose in the northern hemisphere countries don’t count towards their GHG emissions.

    Isn’t that because no one has a stake in a healthy, growing elk farm industry over there? I don’t quite see how NZ having say, moose running wild would be advantageous for us in this sense…

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  15. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    No, we count 99% of our ruminants towards our Kyoto obligations (wild deer and goats don’t count).
    Other countries (with native ruminants) count a lower percentage of their ruminants towards their Kyoto obligations.

    It in effect, ‘inflates’ how much methane-sourced GHG we generate.

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  16. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    If Labour try to claim any sort of moral high ground on climate change, just remember these facts. Helen Clark’s record was one of the worst in the world on carbon emissions.

    I congratulate Helen Clark on this achievement. The word “worst” above should actually be “best”, because any perusal of the literature reveals that plant growth is enhanced with increased atmospheric CO2.
    CO2 is not a pollutant.
    CO2 above current levels does not measurably increase world temperatures.
    http://www.co2science.org

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  17. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Maybe we should ask them to cure cancer if they’ve got a bit of spare time?”

    “From 1934 to 1974, 62,000 Swedes were sterilized as part of a national program grounded in the science of racial biology and carried out by officials who believed they were helping to build a progressive, enlightened welfare state. Those individuals judged inferior were sterilized. Sweden also lobotomized about 4500 people deemed “undesirable.” Many of these sterilizations and lobotomies were done against the individuals’ will. ”

    No wonder YOU drool over them Stephen.

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  18. Sam (502 comments) says:

    Ryan – when we actually have working policies in place that will enable us to meet the targets that we set – rather than HC’s approach which was to set unrealistic targets, and then make little/no effort to move toward them (until it was too late). That is when we will be ready to walk the walk…

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  19. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    I’ll be first in line to thank her for this terrible record.

    Reducing carbon emissions back to 1999 or even 1990 levels implies a very substantial interference in the economy and a dramatic reduction in living standards. With NZ’s share of global emissions at 0.1% and falling, offsetting benefits are indistinguishable from zero. We just get to be poorer. Yay.

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  20. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    Why do we always compare ourselves to what the Nordic countries do. Its great that they can have high taxes, large incomes etc etc etc. But the reality is. Everyone in those countries are pretty much protestant and lets face it white. They have strict immigration policies and thus don’t have problems other countries have.

    New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia, USA, Canada and most of Europe are completely different. We have ethnic and religious mixes and these will always cause conflicts and will always add complexities. That is something Nordic countries don’t really experience.

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  21. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    No wonder YOU drool over them Stephen.

    I actually prefer to live in the late-90s myself, not the 1970s.

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  22. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    I think there are some sensible things that could still be done under the motivation of climate change.

    Top of my list would be getting countries on this planet to stop subsidising the consumption of fossil fuels (e.g. China’s price controls on petrol) and deforestation. These are 100s of billions of dollars annually. It seems simpler as a first cut, to get rid of the perverse incentives before we think about more interventions to try and counter adverse interventions elsewhere.

    I don’t have a particular problem with a carbon tax if it is offset by other tax changes. Simplify our taxation system on fossil fuels (that may actually mean petrol becomes cheaper). And tilt the system so that we pay more tax on ‘bads’ and less tax on ‘goods’ (like earning income).

    It seems a lot of the problem we have with GHG policy is that it’s about ‘feeling good’ and ‘getting warm glows’, rather than getting incentives right.

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  23. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    Nordic country’s can fuck off with Switzerland and build a chocolate watch, we have nothing in common once you get past the face value.

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  24. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    People people please, all these issues can be solved by giving the Russians 2 billion of our tax dollars.

    It all makes PERFECT sense!

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  25. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    “Why do we always compare ourselves to what the Nordic countries do. Its great that they can have high taxes, large incomes etc etc etc. But the reality is. Everyone in those countries are pretty much protestant and lets face it white. They have strict immigration policies and thus don’t have problems other countries have.”

    Nordic countries have had millions of Arabs and africans emmigrate there in the last decade or so. Sweden has gone from 7 to 9 milljon, mostly by immigration. THey are all basically on the road to ruin with huge growing welfare rolls and not enough people actually working.

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  26. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    In the 1980s – biggest carbon polluters were the Western World and the Soviet Bloc, the only thing they had in common was a taste for dishing out teh social spending. QED – the cause of AGW is socialism.

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  27. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    You could bullboze the entire country and replant it with forest, thereby getting our emmissions back to pre 1400s levels. However it will do SFA to global temperatures. AGW = bullshit.

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  28. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Thank you, Brian Smaller, I was going to say something like that, “gingercrush” is WAAAAY out of date.

    If you’ve got LOTS of time, you can read THIS:

    “The Case Of Sweden”, from the Book “Defeating Eurabia”, by “Fjordman”

    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/10/defeating-eurabia-part-4.html

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  29. lloydois (209 comments) says:

    You really do fill your head with a load of retrograde pap don’t you PhilBest. Perhaps this is why you came to the astonishing conclusion that Obama wasn’t going to win the election and now this redundant rubbish a la Sweden. I take it you haven’t done much travelling in Scandanavia recently.

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  30. lyndon (325 comments) says:

    Focus more on measures that will work, and less on political rhetoric

    ORLY? Considering National opposed (from memory) every action that would have had any effect, I hope they do better in government. So far, not much cause for optimism.

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  31. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Clintoniid, for what its worth, a price cap on petrol will lower consumption not increase it. Supply side effects.

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  32. Lank (1 comment) says:

    Many leading scientists tell us that CO2 has little or nothing to do with climate and that elevated CO2 is arguably beneficial for our planet. They tell us that CO2 is not a pollutant or poison but it does enhance most plant growth and any ‘extra’ emissions are a bonus to agriculture.

    If NZ politicians had any spine and really wanted to help the economy they should encourage CO2 emissions. This would give ailing industries and agriculture a ‘leg-up’. CO2 emitters could be encouraged through tax concessions and government subsidies. Coal and gas fueled power stations could be expanded, upgraded (to reduce carbon monoxide and sulphur outputs), and subsidised to allow cheap energy and more employment for both struggling NZ manufacturers and working families to weather the coming global financial storm.

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  33. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Illydois, so I was wrong about the capacity of the American public to be deceived by their media in the special circumstance that the hard left radical candidate was a goodlooking African American. John Kerry, John Edwards, none of them could have done it.

    You tell me in 3 years if I was wrong about what hard left politics will do to America. (You are deeply in denial about the realities in Sweden and the other Eurotopias).

    I still think that Victor Davis Hanson is a historian and a columnist who is not to be mocked, and this is what he has been saying in the last few days:

    “…..The media has succeeded in shielding Barack Obama from journalistic scrutiny. It thereby irrevocably destroyed its own reputation and forfeited the trust that generations of others had so carefully acquired. And it will never again be trusted to offer candid and nonpartisan coverage of presidential candidates.

    Worse still, the suicide of both print and electronic journalism has ensured that, should Barack Obama be elected president, the public will only then learn what they should have known far earlier about their commander-in-chief — but in circumstances and from sources they may well regret……”

    “…..As a self-interested columnist, I would hope Obama reassumes his natural hard-left position of his 1996-2005 period that would provide both plentiful column topics and prove counterproductive to his I fear scary agenda. But as an American, I surely hope he doesn’t, and so wish him personally well, and success as a possible centrist commander-in-chief that advances American interests……”

    November 12, 2008
    Win One For the Messiah!
    Excuse me if I remain unmoved by the misguided religious fervor.
    by Victor Davis Hanson
    National Review Online

    “Just one punch of the ballot is all it took. Now suddenly almost every one, here and abroad, is supposed to appreciate the newfound morality of the American people, change their own prior wicked ways, and do what they must for newly elected Barack Obama.

    Some columnists are now putting Europe, Russia, China — and the whole world — on moral notice: we Americans did the right thing in electing the first African-American president and a charismatic, hip, commander-in-chief. They must now, too — or else!

    Our divine edict from on high is simple: O wide world of little faith: Don’t blow it! So Europeans buck up for Barack, and get back in Afghanistan! Illiberal Russia, hands off those democracies on your borders and don’t make Barack do something we will all regret later! China, keep Barack’s air clean and don’t dare burn any more dirty coal!

    Excuse me?

    The world may be temporarily awestruck with the wise and all-powerful Obama, but it’s not quite ready to coalesce into a kinder, gentler global family — one people, under one Messiah, indivisible, with peace and justice for all…….”

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  34. Paul Marsden (998 comments) says:

    Kyoto is one of the biggest con-jobs the world has ever seen, and will achieve absolutely nothing.

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  35. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Aren’t you in a bit of an existential dilemma, if you occupy a position where on the one hand Climate Change is not real, but on the other hand boo Helen for failing to do enough about it?

    Don’t forget global warming is an oddball theory and we need to review the scientific evidence. Just ask your man Rodney “Spray-tan” Hide. (While we’re on the job, the round-earth theory is looking tired and cliched and in need of a dust-off too. We probably need to organise a committee to re-evaluate Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity too, before we decide whether to build Transmission Gully or upgrade the train set instead.)

    PS: Loving those “Find your Ukraine Beauty” adverts in the sidebar!!!
    I don’t for a minute believe they are legit, or that the photo is honest, but strangely I just don’t care… :-D

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  36. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    They tell us that CO2 is not a pollutant or poison but it does enhance most plant growth and any ‘extra’ emissions are a bonus to agriculture.

    Well, in order to benefit from higher CO2 concentrations the plant needs to have a C3 photosynthesis pathway, whereas C4 plants do better in CO2-limited environments. Unfortunately a lot of plants we exploit in agricultural systems are C4 types. The truth is some plants do better in CO2 enriched environments and some don’t.

    Also CO2 isn’t the only GHG, and many of the others are not known to have benefits to plant growth. And if GHG emissions create more unstable weather, then volatile growing conditions would have an adverse effect on crops.

    I’m not entirely convinced that pushing atmospheric CO2 levels beyond known historical boundaries is an entirely prudent course of action. That starts to be a pretty big global experiment with no clear path back to what occurred naturally.

    Of course, this does not demonstrate that Kyoto is the appropriate policy path appropriate for NZ.

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  37. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    In the 1980s, ecologists realized that satellites could track production, and enlisted NASA to collect the data. For the first time, ecologists did not need to rely on rough estimates or anecdotal evidence of the health of the ecology: They could objectively measure the land’s output and soon did — on a daily basis and down to the last kilometre.

    The results surprised Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA, scientists involved in analyzing the NASA data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth’s vegetated landmass — almost 110 million square kilometres — enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

    Why the increase? Their 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life. CO2 is nature’s fertilizer, bathing the biota with its life-giving nutrients. Plants take the carbon from CO2 to bulk themselves up — carbon is the building block of life — and release the oxygen, which along with the plants, then sustain animal life. As summarized in a report last month, released along with a petition signed by 32,000 U. S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2: “Higher CO2 enables plants to grow faster and larger and to live in drier climates. Plants provide food for animals, which are thereby also enhanced. The extent and diversity of plant and animal life have both increased substantially during the past half-century.” (BioScience June 2004 / Vol. 54 No. 6)

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  38. lloydois (209 comments) says:

    Interesting. One of the reasons John Howard lost power in Oz was because he was clearly out of step with community sentiment on global warming. Every opinion poll since the election has confirmed that the electorate is to the left of the Liberal party and wants the Labor Government to take a stronger stance.

    Reading the consensus here one imagines NZ is in an alternative universe. The majority agree with ACT, that global warming is a fraud and most New Zealanders want NZ taken out of Kyoto.

    Personally I can’t think of a more idiotic policy. But then I’m not Rodney Hide.

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  39. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    32,000 U. S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2:

    The Orgeon Petition?

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  40. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    lloydois: I think you’ll find a survey that tells us most Australians want faster action on carbon emission reduction. And when asked how much they would personally pay to achieve that, they are happy to pay about $1 per week. Which won’t meaningfully reduce emissions under an ETS.

    I was wondering the other day about a carbon tax that was tied to GST. So we layer the tax on the carbon emissions early in the chain (the oil, the coal etc), and let it trickle through with GST. This would make it pretty easy to refund when we export, and sort of easy to add on when we import. Problem is, GST is a single rate on all inputs at present, and this would change it to a variable rate tax. But otherwise the mechanisms are there.

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  41. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    Iloydois, you probably don’t have a degree in environmental science like Rodney either.

    The consensus on a “right” blog is going to be different on this issue than the general public. The mass unwashed are more easily taken in by mass-marketed propaganda.

    Some of us have been closely following the progress of the AGW hoax for many years. And we are not afraid to be in the minority. Integrity is more important than the ‘safety’ of the populist herd’s group-think.

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  42. NZD.JPY (130 comments) says:

    So by UN logic only Turkey and Spain are more qualified to chair any committees on emmission reductions. Helen’s probably a shoe in for the job after all.

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  43. lloydois (209 comments) says:

    You sure as hell can’t trust the mass unwashed. Look what they just chose in NZ!!!!

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  44. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    lloydois: many a true word spoken in jest? Some on the left truly believe that selecting a leader is too important to be left to the people…Chris Trotter being one so far as I can tell.

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  45. clintheine (1,571 comments) says:

    Put it this way lloydois, if you don’t like what the “mass unwashed” voted for in NZ, look at what they rejected!

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  46. jackp (668 comments) says:

    I don’t think Helen Clark’s purpose of dramatizing the Kyoto agreement was to “be the leader of the world” in cleaning up carbon emissions. Her purpose is to capitalize from the carbon emission scheme to get more money for the government and to make more people more dependent on the government by handing out more subsidies to families who can’t afford the 2000.00 increase in family budgets. New Zealand is producing only .3 percent of the world emissions and to make the extremely expensive sacrifices we would have to make is like putting a band aid on a hole of a boat to keep it from sinking. This is purly a money making scheme for the government. Helen Clark’s philosophy is “the blood of politics is money.” Pure and simple. This is the purpose of the emissions trading scheme. I agree with Rodney Hide, scarp it. If you really want to get serious about reducing emissions, put electric trains or monorail system in the major cities. Reduces carbon emissions and hence stress and increases productivity. Very simple solutions. Electricity production? Solar heating in homes. Very simple.

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