Write a short submission on the Climate Commission’s draft report. The deadline is this Sunday 28 March. Here is the link.
Below is the submission from John Minto and Bronwen Summers – it might have some ideas to inspire your own submission.
Submission in response to Climate Change Commission’s Draft Report
- The draft report does not meet the challenge of climate change in a way which can give confidence we are doing our part in changing our food production and lifestyles to avoid the catastrophic impact of climate change for New Zealand and the rest of humanity.
- Evidence is mounting that climate change is occurring at a more rapid rate than previously thought. Already the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 2018 IPCC report, on which the government has set its carbon targets, have been overtaken by climate events which show the situation is more acute than previously thought. To give just one source, here are examples of accelerating climate change from Live Science including:
- Arctic transformation may be permanent. …
- A deadly hurricane season. …
- Greenland may need new maps. …
- Earth breaks records left and right. …
- Massive Antarctic glacier in danger. …
- Earth is facing a form of heat not seen in 50 million years. …
- Lost penguin colony revealed by Antarctic melt…
3. While the basic analysis of the science of climate change in the draft report is comprehensive and commendable, the measures proposed in response are too tentative. They are simply inadequate to meet the gravity of the situation.
4. The draft report has focused too narrowly on the targets for climate gas reductions set by the government in the Zero Carbon Act – targets which are nowhere near ambitious enough to address this deepening and accelerating crisis. The report has therefore allowed itself to be heavily constrained by the political decisions of parliament at the expense of the science.
5. This is NOT a situation where the Commission can go along with a Goldilocks decision (not too fast and not too slow!) to deal with the problem. Science doesn’t work that way. Climate change does not respect the political niceties of social-democratic government. This is a science emergency and the commission’s final report must reflect this.
6. However, the commission’s draft report says we can meet the challenge of climate change within existing technologies and without significant economic or social upheaval. This is irresponsible. In effect it kicks the can down the road for the next generation to confront. The heavy lifting should be done NOW rather than left for our children and grandchildren.
7. The final report must be nimble enough to respond to the accelerating climate change crisis. It would be a far better to “go hard and go early” rather than be caught in 10 years time by a reality of climate change which is unmanageable in human terms. The commission’s role must be to hold the government to account rather than go along with a scenario where political slippage is inevitable.
8. It is inexplicable that the Commission has accepted without comment the government decision to leave methane emissions from farming livestock out of the Emissions Trading Scheme. This is a massive community subsidy for farmers to continue unsustainable, climate-destructive activity. Placating irresponsible farming practices has no place in the climate crisis we face.
9. It is important the Commission appreciates that many of those who benefit from the prevailing capitalist economic model, farmers and big business in particular, do not see the need for policy change because as climate change occurs it will simply revalue land and assets and they will remain in control whatever happens – irrespective of the human disaster which may unfold around them. Many of them see the climate crisis as a classic “disaster capitalism” opportunity. Their views should be read in this light.
10. The draft report repeats the capitalist mantra that “growth” is of itself a good thing. This thinking is not credible or acceptable. Unsustainable growth has got us into this problem and yet there is no mention of “no-growth” or “degrowth” options as strategies to fight climate change.
11. The draft report talks about the need to “co-develop” plans with Maori, Pasifika and low-income communities around climate changes issues but unless this is spelt out in detail it looks like a “tick-box” exercise.
12. Without substantial change the draft report will be too little too late – overtaken by accelerating global warming. If the final report is not substantially changed it will be a limp, flaccid and hopelessly inadequate document.
- The commission in its final report must recognise the evidence of accelerating climate change.
- The commission should revise its timelines to make them much more ambitious in line with mounting evidence of accelerating climate change and the inadequacy of the government’s Zero Carbon targets.
- The final report needs to recognise the need to be nimble and tighten targets and drive much faster change in light of the ongoing development of the science and the risks they reveal.
- The commission should recommend methane emissions from livestock farming be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme now.
- Water quality issues are not adequately addressed. While the interlinking of these issues is acknowledged the critical importance of water quality must be in “lock-step” with climate change strategies.
- The commission should place the greatest emphasis on submissions from those who have a deep concern for the welfare of humanity rather than from those representing profit-driven interests.
- The report should suggest a specific “step change” for the whole country – something manageable yet significant enough to impact everyone. For example a move to free public transport which is occurring overseas and which is under evaluation for Canterbury by Environment Canterbury.
- The final report should propose an intensive education campaign on the climate crisis which includes the cost of doing nothing against which to measure the cost of acting – in other words taking action now will save hugely into the future.
- Remove references to “growth” from the final report unless in the context of “no-growth” or “de growth”.
- The final report should provide “meat on the bones” for the co-development of climate change planning with Maori, Pasifika and low-income communities. For this to be authentic the commission should engage with these groups now and present in its final report a co-developed strategy for this to occur.
John Minto and Bronwen Summers