Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Climate change: Easy if you try

The New Zealand government is currently trying to convince us that we can't do anything about climate change, and we certainly shouldn't try and do anything ambitious which might result in farmers havign to make slightly less money. Meanwhile, in Europe, the EU has met is 20% by 2020 reduction target eight years ahead of schedule:

The European Union will enter crucial global climate talks that begin next week with a weakened bargaining position because it has already met its targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions eight years ahead of time and has no plans to put more ambitious cuts on the table.

Europe's longstanding goal has been to cut emissions by 20% by 2020, compared to a 1990 baseline. But emissions are already below that level, according to analyses verified by the European Environment Agency, the bloc's green watchdog. That gives countries and companies little incentive to opt for further efforts to cut greenhouse gases.

Of course, they had policy. We had denial and foot-dragging. But as a result, Europe not only has a better environment - its also positioned itself as a technological leader able to profit from other country's decarbonisation. Meanwhile, we're still doing the same dirty old shit we always did. And I don't think anyone can argue that Europe has seen any appreciable decrease in living standards to achieve their goal.

Europe's success shows what we could have done if we had tried. We should hold our politicians to account for their failure to do so.

(Meanwhile, I love how this is seen as a terrible thing in the European press because it weakens their post-Kyoto bargaining position. But the obvious solution is to set a more ambitious target. As the article notes, they're already on track for a 25% cut by 2020 without doing anything more than they're doing at present; stretching that isn't going to be too hard, while setting an example for others to follow).