We’re alone in these trenches, Nick

The NZ Herald reports Nick Smith commenting at the National Party’s northern conference at Waitangi last weekend. He was subjected to some stern questioning about the ETS he insists on installing for us.

He likens the scheme to our contributions to overseas conflicts, reasoning in this way:

“The challenge I give back to you is: when our Anzac troops went to Gallipoli, and when we’ve got our New Zealand troops in Afghanistan, do we really think those New Zealand troops in Afghanistan are going to make a world of difference to the final outcome there?

“No, we don’t. But what we do say, as New Zealanders, and what those Anzacs said in the tradition of New Zealand, is we as a country believe in doing our fair share.”

Nick, the two situations are not comparable. It is ridiculous, one might say even desperate, to attempt to compare them. You see, overseas, we’re fighting with other people. We can actually measure what we do against their efforts.

But with the ETS, we’re not like any other country. Nobody has an ETS like ours. We’re entirely alone.

And we will make no difference to the climate.

Whatever you say it will cost us, it is too much to pay for an empty gesture.

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9 Thoughts on “We’re alone in these trenches, Nick

  1. Andy on 03/06/2010 at 10:01 am said:

    A better analogy would be trying to swim upstream in a raging torrent.

    NZs annual net CO2 emissions are around 50 million tonnes

    The South African Medusi coal station that has just been granted funding by the world bank will emit 25 million tonnes per annum.


    In other words, this one power station will emit 50% of NZ’s entire CO2 emissions in the same time period.

    Plus we have China, who are committed to building a new coal fired power station every week until 2020.

    If this is our Gallipoli, then the war is already lost.

  2. Bob D on 03/06/2010 at 12:14 pm said:

    I was somewhat bemused when I read Nick Smith’s comment. The parallels between Gallipoli and the ETS are in fact quite strong, but not the way he intended.

    I think you’ll battle to find anyone who disagrees that Gallipoli was an unmitigated disaster. The ANZAC troops were marched unwittingly into a fiasco because they blindingly trusted the Allied commanders at the time. They were prepared to “do their fair share” based on very little analysis. They paid for it with their blood, and the end result was: nothing. Absolutely nothing was achieved; they eventually had to pull out, leaving the best of their generation dead on the beaches.

    Much like the ETS, really.

  3. Andy on 09/06/2010 at 7:35 am said:

    Slightly off-topic, but this paper is worth a read:

    “Global Warming Advocacy Science: a Cross Examination”


    Quote from above:

    Given, however, that the most significant ghg emission reduction policies are
    intended to completely alter the basic fuel sources upon which industrial economies and
    societies are based, with the costs uncertain but potentially in the many trillions of
    dollars, one would suppose that before such policies are undertaken, it would be
    worthwhile to verify that the climate establishment’s view really does reflect an unbiased
    and objective assessment of the current state of climate science.

  4. Clarence on 21/06/2010 at 7:11 am said:

    If New Zealand has been contributing 0.2% of the greenhouse gas concentration in the earth’s atmosphere before entering into an ETS – what percentage will we be contributing AFTER entering into an ETS?

  5. Somebody? **click fingers** Somebody?


    • Andy on 21/06/2010 at 1:02 pm said:

      If you look at Fig 1.3 on the following webpage, you can see projected emissions with and without ETS


      Without ETS, emissions are forecast to increase from around 78000Gg CO2 to around 85,000Gg CO2,

      With ETS, emissions are forecast to stay roughly constant at the 2010 levels until 2020

      This, of course, falls somewhat outside the range of a 10% target reduction of emissions by 2020. The 2050 target of 50% reduction looks like a pipe-dream at this stage.

      As to the question of how much the percentage of global emissions will be in 2020, we can safely assume that it will be less than 2010 figures as the developing world is rapidly increasing emissions levels. e.g China adds an amount equivalent to a whole NZ’s worth of emissions every 3 or 4 weeks or so.

    • Andy on 21/06/2010 at 7:20 pm said:

      I’ve just had some further dialogue with MFE regarding the emissions targets I quoted in the above link.

      These are “responsibility” targets rather than domestic targets.

      I.e they are not targets that we can necessarily achieve (and by the governments own admission we will not achieve them)

      We can purchase credits on the international carbon market to make up the shortfall.

      I have asked for some ballpark figures on what this shortfall might be. I presume a lot depends on whether we sign our lives away at some future “Copenhagen” type summit.

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