Climate Change vs John Key | The Jackal

30 May 2011

Climate Change vs John Key

In a recent survey conducted by the WWF, 73% of New Zealanders believe that the Government should prioritise increased development of renewable energy to provide electricity and transport fuel in New Zealand. Only 18% said the government’s energy strategy should prioritise more exploration and mining for fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.

With a clear majority saying that the Government should invest in clean tech, you would think that New Zealand would see some action to lesson our reliance on dirty fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. Unfortunately John Key has remained stagnant on this serious issue since National came to power. This is because the Prime Minister is a climate change denier; despite clear and irrefutable evidence showing mankind is damaging the Earth.

When National gained power in 2008, they despicably went about removing many of New Zealand's domestic climate policies that could have helped create jobs, safeguard the environment and move Aotearoa into a brighter future.

The costly delay to clean tech implementation puts human existence at an ever increasingly precarious position. The predictions of future severe weather events have come true in many countries with extensive flooding and increased storms. It's a devastating reminder of just how powerful Mother Nature can be.

Scientists now believe that even if the world cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions today, we're still going to see a worsening environmental effect and a reduction in food production capacity. With an already estimated 1 billion starving humans throughout the World, this is dire news indeed.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a major 2007 report forecast that the world would heat up by 1.8 to 4.0 degrees Celsius (3.2-7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared with pre-industrial levels and that some damage was irreversible. Despite countries like Germany, which have been able to reduce carbon emissions by a large implementation of solar and wind technology; that UN prediction is now blown out of the water.

Contrary to what John Key the clown believes, there's a scientific consensus showing that climate change is irrefutably related to mankind's industrialization. However, political momentum to fight climate change has declined since that 2007 report, especially in the United States, with a number of conservative lawmakers raising unfounded doubts about the science and saying that action is too costly. Their delay will surely be far more expensive than the implimentation of any remedial measures available.

Subsidies for electric vehicles? Two years on from this video, National has done nothing to reduce carbon emissions. It is clear that many countries (including New Zealand) have delayed measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and this has resulted in an increase globally by a record amount in 2010, to the highest carbon output in history.

The International Energy Agency reported CO2 emissions grew to an historic high of 30.6 gigatonnes, a 5% increase over 2008 levels after a dip in 2009. It's a sad fact that many countries are failing to adhere to greenhouse gas reductions, something the entire globe cannot afford to get wrong.

Recently the EU pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. For them to achieve this, the EU is setting itself milestones to achieve by 2020 and 2040.

The same cannot be said about New Zealand's National Government. John Key continues to show a large amount of inertia, presumably because of a continued incorrect belief that climate change is not real. National's failure to meet its ETS goals makes it clear that our supposed leaders current policies are not based on scientific information. Instead of making positive changes, they continue to help their rich mates in polluting industries, something that we can ill afford to have continue.
Let’s way up the pros and cons of energy sources:

Coal. We have a good supply of coal but it adds to climate change and our terrible air quality when burnt. It is also dangerous to source.

Nuclear power. Gives a vast amount of energy. Creates waste that is not easily disposed of and threatens life when the technology fails. Is difficult to decommission and has lasting effects for thousands of years. Makes the areas utilized unusable for future development. Becomes unsafe with common events such as earthquakes.

Fossil fuels/gas. Relatively little processing in terms of energy delivered. Dangerous to extract, contributes to climate change and is a limited resource.

Wind power. We have a plentiful supply of wind and many suitable locations where noise pollution will not affect anybody. Newer windmill designs are less noisy. Many people think that windmills are beautiful to look at and implementing this technology on a large scale can meet our entire energy requirement. 

Tidal. There are many areas of New Zealand vastly suitable to tidal generators. Being that many of our towns and cities are located close to the ocean, tidal power could be a burgeoning industry.

Solar. Is easy to manufacture and install. Utilizes a source of energy that is abundant. Small installations can be hidden from view. We would require large installations to meet our growing demand for energy.

Hydro. We have many suitable locations for additional hydro dams and a plentiful supply of water to power them. The down side is that such large developments require large capital input and damage some of New Zealand's most picturesque areas. Dams are subject to structural damage from earthquakes and many endangered species reside in suitable locations.

Geothermal. Is a clean energy source that is abundant within New Zealand. Currently generates around 57 TWh/a of Electricity in 24 countries. Has vast potential for further development.

Biomass. Can utilise many waste products but the process has not been perfected yet and is still relatively inefficient. Can create heat or waste by-product in processing.

There will always be a profit motive for all of these technologies. The profit motive of fossil fuel is currently inhibiting clean tech alternatives. The World has vast geothermal areas that are currently untapped, mainly on plate boundaries. Much of the infrastructure already exists to utilize natural areas where non-polluting energy can be harnessed. Every country in the world has the choice between technology that is safe and technology that is dangerous. It’s all about cost efficiency, safety and reducing greenhouse gasses. The order in which we prioritise, will determine our existence on this planet.