Monday, 10 August 2009

Emissions target 2020

At 4-ish pm today, Climate Change ministers Nick Smith and Tim Groser announced government's emissions reduction target for 2020. 10% - 20%. This neatly encapsulates the 15% which was widely expected (although the ministers did say that no such thing had been implied), but is nonetheless a pretty broad range. Here's a more detailed graphic of it, as well.

It's also somewhat below what Greenpeace had been vying for with it's 'Sign On' campaign (although we won't even get into that particular debate between Greenpeace and government...).

The reduction target is going to be tabled at tonight's talks in Bonn, Germany - for those not clamped in fascination to the workings of the UNFCCC, these are one of a number of meetings being held in the run-up to Copenhagen at the end of this year. Copenhagen should be very interesting, although I've heard mutterings saying that we shouldn't be too hopeful about the talks...after all, climate change and emissions reduction is a thorny issue for, well, everyone.

And it's a very tricky issue, not only internationally, but intranationally (my fancy way of saying 'here'). New Zealand certainly has a clean, green image, but this hasn't been borne out by fact recently, so there's a great deal of work to be done. Costly work. We're also an agricultural nation, and methane is not exactly the least important of the greenhouse gases.

So there's a great deal of push and pull between economic and environmental concerns. Then again, one could always argue that, as with most things, there is a middle way. With appropriate R&D funding, means of being green could become sources of income. Forestry. Windmills. GM cows and their gut bacteria...

For some (far more) expert commentry on today's announcement, mooch on over to here.