Editorial: So far so still-no-good

Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014
Tim Groser2
TIM GROSER: Climate change minister

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OPINION: Climate Change Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as something that will "help inform" our climate policy to become more "resilient to the impacts of climate change".

If he has found something, anything, within that report that says either New Zealand, or pretty much the rest of the world, is doing a good job on the issue, we would encourage him to share it with us all when he visits Invercargill tomorrow.

Groser might also want to highlight our successes translating activity to achievement when next he's speaking with the nation's scientists, who have not embraced the press releases that things are ticking over carefully but nicely.

Like Professor Euan Mason from Canterbury University School of Forestry. He says New Zealand, in particular, is not pulling its weight. Something to do, apparently, with our per capita emissions being among the fastest rising in the world and our Emissions Trading Scheme failing.

Or Professor Martin Manning of the NZ Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University who sounds less than impressed by all that work that's been focused on clarifying the specific areas of vulnerability, rather than actually establishing responses.

Or Dr James Renwick, an associate professor with Victoria University's school of Environment, Geography and Earth Sciences, who says the report is a wake up call and a warning that "we have done little so far to prepare".

Granted, these men are lining up behind the IPCC, which has long since been dismissed by critics (who have consulted their favourite websites in great depth over this matter) as either corrupt, or a body of crap scientists, or both.

To accept any of these criticisms, however,, you would need to be comfortable with the scale, scope and depth of what you are dismissing. The climate change panel, which has spent the past four years steeped in yet more peer-reviewed research before issuing its latest finding, is a group that the huge majority of the mainstream scientific world recognises as . . . well . . . itself.

And the panel is adamant there is no remaining uncertainty that the world has, indeed, warmed by nearly 1 degree Celsius over the past century and that there's a 95 per cent probability that people caused most of that, and that the problem has really serious, really bad consequences, and that the longer we spent doing not a whole heap about it, the uglier our future becomes.

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As for New Zealand, Groser explains much of our focus, see, has been getting on international agreement on reducing emissions though he does warn, gravely, that "some change can't be avoided so we must be prepared to adapt".

One day, right? Arguably, there's already been a lot of preparing. Unarguably there's been scant actual reaction of any consequence.

New Zealand has a mix of legislation and policy measures in place to deal with the different aspects of climate change adaptation. The Government has decided local councils are best placed to assess the risk and plan for climate change in their specific areas, albeit guided by central government agencies, the Coastal Policy Statement and the Resource Management Act.

Close-up, we grant you it's no bad thing that the Invercargill City Council is looking at new floodbanks to better protect the city airport. But such measures are still at the necessary but modest end of mitigation measures, rather than addressing, nationally and internationally, the substantive problem.

- The Southland Times

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