climate change, Emissions Trading Scheme, IPCC, John Key

Key has faith in IPCC

A prime minister needs to be a jack of all trades. So it’s not really fair to expect him to be master of many.

But we do expect him to be a good judge of which masters to place his faith in.

On global warming, as you can read here, our prime minister places his total faith in the much-maligned IPCC.

With his idiotic climate tax due to start hitting you in the pocket the day after tomorrow, read this and weep. 

JOHN KEY ON LEIGHTON SMITH SHOW
4 FEBRUARY, 2010

SMITH

I’ve never had so many questions for a prime minister before.

No doubt because of the higher prices those listeners will soon be paying because of the ETS.

An emailed question:

In view of the overwhelming evidence that the IPCC has produced a flawed document and flawed policy, would he consider postponing the extra charges on petrol and electricity coming into force on July 1?

If not, where does the tax money go? I have not been able to get a satisfactory answer from anyone.

KEY

It’s not our intention at this point to delay the ETS.

And what I’d say about the Emissions Trading Scheme that we have in place is it’s at the very mild end of an Emissions Trading Scheme.

So why do I say that?

Beats me, John.

Because your scheme is the most punishing emissions trading scheme in the world. No country outside the socialist EU is silly enough to have one.

And theirs only punishes 4% of their economy, while yours punishes 100% of ours.

Also, 80% of European trade is inside Europe. So their companies are on a level playing field with their competitors.

Whereas 100% of New Zealand trade is outside New Zealand. So our exporters’ are playing on a field that’s tilted in their competitors’ favour.

Well firstly, basically the price of carbon is capped at $12.50.

So it’s significantly lower and can’t rise for the period of time that it’s in for the first few years.

Secondly, where does the money go?

It gets recycled.

So the old scheme Labour had proposed actually sucked, in the end, tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money out of the economy into the pockets of the government.

That’s right. The only scheme dumber than National’s was Labour’s.

Dumb and Dumber. Is that the best this country can be?

We’re not doing that.

We are taking a modest amount and giving it to people who plant trees or come up with technological answers to climate change.

So it’s quite modest.

Tell that to the shivering pensioners and other strugglers you’ll soon be hitting with higher petrol, power and grocery prices — on top of your GST rise and any normal price rises.

SMITH

Are you still receiving advice on climate change from Dr. Gluckman?

KEY

I don’t get really my major advice on climate change from him. I do talk to him.

But he doesn’t provide the formal written advice. That comes from other government departments.

SMITH

Such as?

KEY

Well, NIWA provides advice.

That would be the same NIWA who were donkey-deep in the Climategate racket?

The Ministry of the Environment provides advice. Some comes from Forestry actually.

That would be the foresters who can’t believe their luck at being compensated for trees they planted after 1989, even though they neither expected any compensation, nor think they deserve it.

 SMITH

Plus the IPCC. Which a lot of those entities you talk about take their advice from.

KEY

Yeah, a combination of things.

For instance, if you look at the most recent advice I had before I went to Copenhagen – and we can come back to that and the merits or success of that particular meeting.

But, if you go and have a look at that, the advice we’ve had is that NZ has warmed by about .8 of a degree, just under 1 degree, over the last (I think it’s) 50 odd years.

Yet back in the pre-industrial 18th century, there was a rise of 2.2 degrees in 36 years. From natural causes. 

SMITH 

That’s the advice you had before you went?

KEY

[No response]

SMITH

You know that advice is now under severe criticism.

KEY

  This is New Zealand, not… not…

SMITH

Yes, but are you aware that that is under severe criticism now?

KEY

Well, I think we’ll go back to the debate.

There are always going to be arguments over the merits one way or the other.

What you can say is that those that wanted a focus on climate change and nothing else, such as Greenpeace, were winning public opinion.

And there was a big push in that direction.

And we were out of sync with them.

Because we said: New Zealand needs a balanced approach between creating jobs and growing our economy, and dealing with our environmental issues.

On the other side of the coin, there are clearly those who think this is all a load of rubbish – it should be completely discounted as a left wing plan.

Er, yeah. You’d think a right-wing government would have been wise to that possibility.

And what happened since the Copenhagen breakdown, there has been growing scepticism around the world.

Not since Copenhagen, John. Since Climategate. Which was before Copenhagen. Big difference.

I think the pendulum will eventually settle somewhere around where National has been the whole way through.

You mean the Al Gore position? I don’t think so.  

We will eventually do things about climate change, because we are expelling more greenhouse gases. The population is growing.

How do we deal with that in a practical way without asking people to change their standard of living?

But you are asking people to be poorer — even though New Zealand has next-to-no population, and expels next-to-no greenhouse gases.

Oh and is — so you keep telling us — supposed to be trying to become as rich as Australia.

SMITH

So you still subscribe to CO 2 being a driver of climate change?

KEY

Well, it’s not just CO 2, it’s methane and nitrate.

SMITH

What would it take to disabuse you of this theory?

KEY

I think the first thing is: factually, we can measure the rise in greenhouse gases.

We can measure quite accurately the rise of CO 2 and methane and nitrate in the atmosphere.

So that’s not debatable.

Nor is it an answer to Leighton’s question, John.

What we can’t do, I guess, is ever – when it comes to science – 100% say that there’s a cause and effect: because that’s rising, that’s having these implications.

 And that’s where the debate often rests.

That’s where it should rest — until the cause and effect is proven.

It should not rest with the knee-jerk acceptance of a highly dubious theory as fact.

It should certainly not rest with the squandering of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a non-solution to a non-problem.

You’ll get those who say climate change is responsible for Hurricane Katrina, catastrophic weather conditions, and actually cooling.

And a lot of the people making the most bizarre claims (now discredited) are those very same people you take advice from — the climate scientologists of the IPCC.

(It’s not necessarily always changes in warming. Changes in weather patterns.)

Others will say they are not.

But if you go back to the bulk of the scientific evidence, it overwhelmingly supports that there is an effect.

The real evidence says the effect is minuscule.

Yes, a bunch of computer models are forecasting all manner of doom and gloom, but they’ve been programmed to produce the result their politicised programmers want.

And how have those projections panned out in real life?

Very badly.

Here’s the Global Warming Model Validation Scorecard. By 2006, when this site stopped counting, the models’ record of successful predictions stood at: Won 1, Lost 27, Drawn 4.

(Ever wonder why scientists only ever call them projections, not predictions? It’s because they get it wrong over 90% of the time.) 

Dodgy computer models are not evidence.

Now, can that change? Will it change?

I don’t know.

But all I can tell you is that a lot of people, for a long period of time, have looked at this.

And the overwhelming bulk of scientific evidence supports it.

Even if you go to someone like Bjorn Lomborg, he would say to you — yes, the Sceptical Environmentalist — he would say to you, “Climate change is happening, but is it worth fixing?”

He would say, “Pour money into fixing the world’s water supplies,” for instance.

Glad you mentioned Dr Lomborg. Let’s have a look at what he actually said.

Here he is at the TED conference in 2005.

He said a number of different groups of economists were asked to rank the world’s fifteen biggest problems by how cost-effectively we could solve them.

All groups rated one problem 15th and least worth trying to fix.

That problem? You guessed it: global warming.

Why?

Not because it wasn’t happening. But because we’d have to spend $150 billion a year cooling the planet. And with all that money, we’d still only be able to nudge the temperature down by a gnat’s whisker.

It’s simply not worth it.

With half that money — $75 billion a year — we could fix all of the world’s major problems. Including all of the world’s communicable diseases like AIDS and malaria.

Lomborg also said something else very interesting.

He talked about what would happen if we let the market system kept lifting poor people out of poverty at the same rate as it has been.

He said that by 2100, the average Bangladeshi will be as wealthy as today’s average Dutchman. So they’ll be well able to adapt to any climatic problem they may face.

(And we all know how the Dutch coped with their little water problem centuries ago — when they had less technology than today’s Bangladeshis.)

So I personally believe human-induced climate change is occurring.

New Zealand’s got to take a responsible approach for a variety of reasons.

 But not one of those reasons stacks up.

Most of the foresters don’t need compensating, and those that do would only set us back about $20 million.

No country is going to take action against us for not having an ETS when they either haven’t got one themselves or (in the case of Europe) it doesn’t apply to agriculture or anything except heavy industry.

But I don’t think we should be at the extreme end of the debate.

So why are you?

If the world’s first all-sectors, all-gases ETS doesn’t put us at the extreme end of the debate, what would?

SMITH

Let me ask you again: What would disabuse you of that belief that you’ve adopted?

KEY

Scientific support that we are wrong.

SMITH

Are you — with the greatest respect to the office of the Prime Minister — can I suggest to you that you are ill informed, and the sources that you’re getting your information from are not providing you with up to date and accurate information?

The scam of man-made global warming – of man-made climate change – is being exposed all over the world at the moment.

Even the New Zealand Herald, while it still held reserve at the end of the Editorial yesterday, finally woke up from it’s 40 year sleep and wrote an editorial that said this scam is going on.

Time Magazine – all the pro-anthropogenic global warming pushers in the media  – have backed off and are now saying we need to go back to square one and work with real science, and not the nonsense that’s led the prime ministers of the world to tax their populations.

KEY

Yeah.

So isn’t the answer here, though, to say, “Look, let’s accept for a moment that it is occurring” – and I accept your perspective that it’s not. 

No that most certainly is not the answer, John.

Before you commit billions of dollars of taxpayers to fixing a problem, the burden of proof must be on the scientists to prove that the problem exists.

You should not just “accept for a moment that it is occurring”.

That’s lazy leadership.

It’s a very long-term problem. Whatever happens, it’s a long-term issue.

The history of the world’s climate is an extremely long-term issue. And as paleontologist Professor Bob Carter will tell you, by the standards of the past we’re going through a rather chilly phase at the moment, with relatively little carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

But I don’t suppose Dr Gluckman and his IPCC friends mentioned that, did he John?

And where the debate becomes ridiculous at one level is when someone like myself and other leaders turn up in Copenhagen, and world leaders like the head of Bangladesh — the President or Prime Minister of Bangladesh — gets up and says — as she did actually at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Trinidad and Tobago — that hundreds of millions of people were starving in her country as a result of climate change.

Well, actually, there’s been long-standing problems in Bangladesh, and I think to start rooting them all back to climate change is ridiculous. 

You had Bolivia and Venezuela getting up at Copenhagen saying that climate change was the evil that was causing capitalism.

Well, I mean that’s a ridiculous statement.

So you’re less ridiculous than Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and the president or prime minister of Bangladesh. Hardly cause for celebration.

SMITH

But you are in good company now. You’ve got Osama Bin Laden on your side.

KEY

 Oh right. So…

But my point is simply this.

We have a very modest system, which we can gear up or ultimately can gear down.

If, at the end of the day, we plant a few more trees in New Zealand, work on expelling less greenhouse gases, in my view — and build greater efficiency, fuel efficiency and the likes — in my view they all have merits and benefits.

We have a million hectares of erosion-prone land in New Zealand. Let’s fix that anyway.

SMITH

The Australian ran a piece today… [went on to talk about the article that said that trees may not be the carbon sink we thought they were.]

KEY

Yeah, there’ll always be a debate. But if you look at it, we have years of research and evidence that shows that trees do suck co2 out of the atmosphere.

So does grass. Why can’t our farmers get any credits for that?

SMITH

I want to conclude it with this.

The claim was, “The science is settled, the consensus has it.”

Both of those are fallacies. They are now becoming unravelled big-time.

KEY

Well, I would go back to you and say what I started with.

I think the debate got extreme on one side pre-Copenhagen.

I think you are seeing a predictable push back the other way.

But I’ll be amazed if, in a few years time, you’re still not seeing countries around the world attempting to do something about this problem.

I’m not saying they’ll- Well, if they’re smart, they won’t sacrifice everything in their economy and all these stupid things for taking a sole and singular focus on climate change.

But I think countries will deal with it.

SMITH

Dr Lomborg, who you quoted earlier, said, “The brave thing to do at the moment is nothing.”

He said that. And somebody wrote to me this morning with a question for you: “Are you brave enough to do nothing?”

KEY

Well, it’s not a question of being brave.

I think the answer there is that if New Zealand did nothing, what would be the implications on the international markets – given we export around about a third of our economy, and want to export more?

And the answer is, there will be pushback.

SMITH

Given what the leading media in the UK is saying at the moment — and other places, but the UK seem to be of major interest to us on this front — no pushback.

None whatsoever.

KEY

Well, I don’t know, ‘cos you’ve got the UK being taxed on that front. You’ve got all of Europe in an Emissions Trading Scheme.

So you are saying that… See, you can argue the merits of it one way or the other. But in the end, the Europeans, the Americans…

In the end, John, the Europeans aren’t taxing agriculture. So they can hardly get upset if we don’t either.

The Americans aren’t going ahead with their cap and trade scheme.

The Chinese won’t be getting an ETS any century soon.

And to cap it all off, Australia’s delayed the scheme we’re supposed to be working in with for at least three years. (A delay that new PM Julia Gillard has endorsed.)

That’s all our main trading partners.

So where will the reprisals be coming from? 

SMITH

Have I drawn your attention though this morning to the fact that it really is unravelling?

And can I ask you to make further enquiry?

KEY

I will.

I hope Leighton asks him to report back.

CALLER

What debate are we prepared to get involved in? Certainly sooner or later someone has to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”

We have to have- Chicken Little has to be called home to roost, so that we can have that debate, so that we can actually know what direction to go to.

Because we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars of peoples funds, nations’ funds, right at the time of a global catastrophic financial meltdown.

KEY

I think the truthful answer is: you’re not going to get as straightforward and binary black and white answer as that any time real soon.

Because I think there will be conjecture and debate and quite ferocious arguments put up by both sides for decades.

What we do know is: the population of the world is getting larger.

We know that they’re industrialising quicker and consuming a lot more carbon.

The question now is ultimately: Does that have any long term impact on the world?

And the scientific evidence that we see indicates it does, and that we should attempt to do something about it.

From New Zealand’s point of view, I think that if we don’t play our part in the world, we’ll have our reputation tarnished. We’ll have reduced access for our goods and services.

So now that we’re playing our part and the rest of the world isn’t, will the rest of the world give us increased access? Or is our shining reputation just one for stupidity?

But I think we should do it in a considered and modest way. And that’s what we’re doing.

Enjoy your considered and modest prices rises after Thursday.

Thanks to Karen Bridgman for the transcript of the interview.

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4 thoughts on “Key has faith in IPCC

  1. John Key, you are putting your own interests (and UN post) as a politician ahead of the interests of the people of NZ, who just want to put food on their table and see ACTION rather than WORDS about catching Australia.

    By voting Labour OUT we were saying that we did NOT want an ETS — at all. In any shape or form.

    You (and Nick Smith) have changed your ETS tune from your pre-election rhetoric. Voters don’t like that. Look what happened to Rudd.

  2. The ETS debacle plus the inconsistencies of the Securities Commission could well cause John Key to suffer the same fate as Kevin Rudd.
    And that is without mentioning the Judge Wilson debate, land sale deals etc.
    Rumour has it that some National Party electorates may not have enough paid up members by end of June to be able to run a candidate for the next general elections.
    Quo Vadis.

  3. Surprised to read that John Key was given a standing ovation at the Federated Farmers conference.
    It wasn’t a slow clap was it?

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