Having your say on the ETS and all that

For those with strong views about climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and all that stuff, here’s your chance to have your say.

The Government will be holding public meetings, meetings with business groups, and hui on New Zealand’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target next month.

Trouble is, the meeting sites are not very user-friendly from a farming point of view.

Maybe if we cut out the hui, and replaced them with more meetings in rural areas, we could all be happy. Maori can bowl up to the public meetings like the rest of us and relish in the experience of being treated equally.

A statement from the Beehive today says –

“The issue of New Zealand’s 2020 target is a single decision with major implications for the environment and economy.” Minister for Climate Change Issues Nick Smith said. “It is the Government’s intention to table at the Bonn climate change negotiations in August our country’s policy on a 2020 target to help achieve global agreement at the Copenhagen Conference in December.”

New Zealand has committed to a global goal of stabilising emissions at not more than 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent.

A long-term goal has been set of 50 by 50 – reducing New Zealand’s net emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2050.

But as Smith points out:

“Setting an interim target for 2020 requires careful consideration, especially in the face of global recession. It needs to be realistic so we don’t inadvertently put our economy at risk. It needs to be achievable or we risk our good international reputation by failing to deliver. It must also be sufficient to protect the environment for future generations.

Tim Groser, Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues (International Negotiations), says New Zealand’s goal is to help reach a pragmatic international agreement that is both environmentally effective and economically efficient.

“We need to consider scientific, economic, environmental and foreign affairs advice in setting our 2020 target. The views of the public and business are also important to the Government. We also need to consider other countries’ commitments.”

The public meetings, which will feature presentations by the Government, will be held in nine centres between 6 July and 17 July: Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Napier and Nelson.

Dr Smith will also hold meetings with business groups in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Hui are being organised in association with the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group.

What strikes Alf about this is that Maori will not be barred from the public meetings (at least, they won’t be so far as he is aware). Hence he wonders why we are organising hui as well.

And what about farmers, who are key players in the business of reducing emissions? It looks like they are being expected to drive a helluva long way to attend these meetings.

Of course, just as Maori can come along to public meetings, non-Maori presumably can come along to the hui. We don’t have a race bar on these gatherings, do we?

If that be so, the best that farmers can hope for is the chance to pop in and hear what’s going on at their nearest hui.

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