The Zero Carbon Bill analysis – 3

Essay 3: Climate-wise, we are the champions!

The third (pdf, 240 KB) of these eleven essays by the Hon Barry Brill on the Zero Carbon Bill has a look at the vanity factor, asking:

Who is the current gold medallist in the climate policy stakes?

From Copenhagen in 2009 to Paris in 2015 we did our best to hog the limelight by taking a lead. Now the Green Party strives to legislate for carbon neutrality by 2050 to gain the prize. But that’s all about ego—what are the facts?

New Zealand as a whole contributes a negative volume of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. We are a large carbon sink. NIWA scientists studied CO2 on both sides of the country and found our NET REMOVALS from the atmosphere total 98 million tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s nearly THREE TIMES our emissions from transport, industry and agriculture.

The national inventory report compiled by the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) consistently undervalues our natural sinks in forestry and land use sectors by nearly 500 percent.

We’ve already scorched off the competition from the OECD.

In short:

the figures … [demonstrate] that New Zealand is the most climate-friendly country in the developed world!

Therefore:

we are the undisputed climate leader of the developed world!

We win with livestock methane

Our dairy production is twice as climate-efficient as our nearest competitor (Ireland).

We win with renewables

With over 80% renewable power generation, we’re no. 3 among developed nations (after Iceland and Norway) and way ahead of all our trading partners.

Comparable efforts

NZ is in the vanguard. Our ETS covers more sectors and more gases than the EU or any other national scheme. Our percentage of exempted industries is much lower and
we are the only nation to include domestic aviation.

The UN director-general has praised this country’s “extraordinary leadership”. We proposed the non-binding structure of the Paris Agreement and led efforts to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Ambition

Towards the more stringent end.

Conclusion

More questions than answers. We’re leading, if not in the lead. But what benefit has it given us? Has anyone else followed us? Have we caused any noticeable reduction in predicted 2100 temperatures?


Have you seen the Bill itself?

Read it online or download it (pdf, 312 KB).

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Brigitte AllainGwan Recent comment authors
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Gwan
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Gwan

What is our government trying to do to this country ? No other country is trying to restrict biogenic methane from farmed livestock and this government has swallowed the lies that biogenic methane is warming the world . Live stock methane is cyclic and does not add ONE atom of carbon to the atmosphere . Every kilogram of forage that farmed livestock consume has absorbed CO2 and the 90 million tonnes of methane that the worlds livestock emit during digestion is broken down within 8 years into CO2 and water vapour .Not one atom of carbon added as CO2 or CH4 . Atmospheric methane levels flat lined from 1999 till 2008 so what was the problem ? World coal production dipped over this time and in 2007 4.6 billion tonnes was extracted and then coal mining went into overdrive and last year coal production and use exceeded 8 billion tonnes . 8 billion tonnes of coal will emit 22 billion tonnes of CO2 and over 60 million tonnes of methane as fugitive emissions as it is extracted . This is all additional carbon dioxide and methane that has been locked up beneath the… Read more »

Brigitte Allain
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Brigitte Allain

While a CH4 molecule has just one carbon atom the same as CO2, methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This is quite a simple idea to grasp; trying to equate methane to carbon dioxide is difficult because it is relatively short-lived. The carbon dioxide people are responsible for adding to the atmosphere will be around for thousands of years.

There are plenty of reputable scientific websites that explain the science. No need to make stuff up.

Gwan
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Gwan

Brigitte , I am not making any thing up .Would you please tell me exactly what you are objecting to what I have written. The theory that the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels is correct but the amount of warming that will occur has never been proven . Scientists have calculated that all things being equal that the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will warm the world by six tenths of one degree Celsius. The concern is that some scientists believe that positive feed backs from increased water vapour will create a lot more warming than that . This is where the whole climate change story becomes blurred as the theory relies on a tropical hot spot in the atmosphere that has never been located and even if a hotspot was found the effect could be quite mild . Now what I have written on this site is that biogenic methane emissions add NO additional atoms of carbon to the atmosphere . That is a fact because every single atom of carbon in the methane emitted has been absorbed by pasture and crops from the atmosphere as CO2 . If you… Read more »

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