Mr February

Is it in the spirit of the Paris Agreement to ratify it with more emissions? - Hot Topic

Sep 24, 2016

Is the New Zealand Government’s plan to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2016 consistent with a two degrees Celsius (2C) carbon budget? Since the December 2015 Paris Agreement, the British climate scientist Kevin Anderson has given a couple of talks with the title Beyond Dangerous Climate Change: Does Paris Lock-out 2 Degrees? Anderson’s message is that although the Paris Agreement was a diplomatic triumph, it relies on speculative utopian technological fixes (bio-energy carbon capture and storage) in the future in order to reconcile the now extremely limited carbon budgets consistent with the desired 2C (and 1.5C) temperature limits with business-as-usual economics and politics. In other words, the Paris Agreement locks out the 2C target. Why do I mention that? Because I want to run a ‘Kevin Anderson’ ruler over the New Zealand Government’s recently announced … Read More

NZ uses dodgy Ukrainian carbon credits, minister in denial - Hot Topic

Apr 26, 2016

Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett has just been in New York signing the UN Paris Agreement. While in New York, Bennett was interviewed by TV One USA correspondent and general nice guy Jack Tame for Television NZ’s Q + A news show. I wonder if Paula Bennett thought she would get a soft, jokey interview with that nice young man Jack Tame. She certainly didn’t. Tame takes the interview 110% seriously. He does not smile. He delivers his questions and his interruptions through a taught stone-face. And his questions are good. We need to remember about a year ago, Jack Tame stood in for Mike Hosking on ‘Mike’s Minute’ and gave us a month of refreshingly different short pieces to camera. In that month, Jack Tame talked about climate change. And he concluded with a minute … Read More

Fixing the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme is just flogging the dead horse - Hot Topic

Mar 01, 2016

Simon Johnson looks at ‘fix the ETS’ metaphors and argues that trying to incrementally ‘save’ or ‘fix’ the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme will ensure it remains ineffective in reducing domestic emissions for decades. Politically, its just flogging the dead horse. We don’t have time for a unending institutionalised cultural conflict over ‘fixing the NZETS’ like the one we have had for ‘fixing’ the Resource Management Act. In my last post I used the metaphor or framing of ‘arguing over the gears while accelerating towards a cliff’ for the latest review of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. Other commentators are using a very different framing for the review; that of ‘fixing the NZETS’. For me that raises some fundamental questions. What are the political advantages and disadvantages of the two framings? Where will each framing lead us? Which … Read More

How fast over the cliff? more tinkering with the train-wreck NZ Emissions Trading Scheme - Hot Topic

Feb 16, 2016

Simon Johnson aka Mr February looks at the Government’s latest token consultation about tinkering with the train-wreck New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. We are still driving fast towards a cliff but the argument has moved from which gear to air-con versus heater. The Government has kindly given us the opportunity to make a submission about how hot or cold we should be as we go over the emissions cliff. Back in September 2012, when Tim Groser and the National Government were last watering down the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS), I wrote a post that used an excellent metaphor for amending the NZETS, tinkering with the gears while driving a car fast towards a cliff. All credit should go to former Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons who had absolutely nailed her answer to questions from … Read More

New minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett confirms NZ uses ‘Hot Air’ creative accounting to meet emissions targets - Hot Topic

Dec 22, 2015

New Zealand’s new Minister for Climate Change, Paula Bennett, has just confirmed New Zealand will be “carrying forward” 127 million “Hot Air” emissions units (or offsets) under Kyoto Protocol rules. These units mostly do not represent a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced somewhere else and yet the Government intends to use them to allow New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions to continue to increase. On Thursday 17 December 2015, Ms Bennett released a statement stating that New Zealand had met its 2008 to 2012 Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction target and was well on the way to meeting the 2013 to 2020 target. The Minister’s statement linked to four reports on the Ministry for the Environment’s website; the Biennial report and net position snapshot 2015, the Biennial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention … Read More

NZ’s emissions target scam – Groser & Co’s creative accounting exposed - Hot Topic

Apr 20, 2015

Simon Johnson (aka MrFebruary) looks at how climate change minister Tim Groser and the National-led government intend to use creative carbon accounting to ensure that New Zealand meets its 2020 climate change target (a five percent reduction) in spite of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) projected to increase to 2020 and beyond. On 10 April […]

Something old, something blue, something borrowed, not much new: Labour’s climate policy - Hot Topic

Sep 11, 2014

Mr February (aka Simon Johnson) looks at the Labour Party’s climate change policy and concludes it’s not exactly innovative. As I was saying in my previous post Labour do have a seven page climate change policy that is at first look pretty comprehensive. Labour will begin the transition to a low carbon clean energy economy […]

Memo to Labour: Calling fossil fuels “transition fuels” doesn’t make the carbon go away - Hot Topic

Sep 09, 2014

The New Zealand Labour Party announced their climate change policy on 24 August; the Sunday before last Sunday. At first glance, it sounds refreshingly like a policy that takes anthropogenic global warming seriously. From the announcement: A Labour Government will put in place a comprehensive climate change strategy focusing on both mitigation and adaptation, establish […]

The Kyoto – New Zealand break-up – when unfaithful new zealand said ‘commitment’ he never meant it - The Dismal Science

Jan 26, 2013

In this post Simon Johnson argues the best analogy for New Zealand’s choice to opt out of a second commitment period (of reducing emissions) under the Kyoto Protocol – is: unfaithful men who won’t commit to their partners! New Zealand governments have behaved faithlessly towards Kyoto. The current National Government under Climate Minister Tim Groser […]

Carbon offsets from a permanent forest sink project – keep it real - Hot Topic

Jan 17, 2013

In which I guest-post as myself and describe a carbon forest sink project I am involved in and our debate about whether we should provide carbon offsets to anyone as part of the project. I originally wrote this for the Greens Frogblog Simon Johnson is a conservationist, tramper, accountant, former DOC worker and resource management […]