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Monday, September 24, 2012

Climate change position dispute

By BRUCE HITCHCOCK
CLIMATE change is back on Environment Southland's agenda after councillor Robert Guyton asked the council at last Wednesday's meeting if it had a stated position on global warming caused by human activity.
  The Environment Court recently ruled regional councils should plan for climate change but leave regulation to the Government, so he was keen to clarify where Environment Southland stood on the issue, he said.
  Speaking after the council meeting, Cr Guyton said the question had produced some heated debate outside of the chambers, some councillors believing man-made climate change did not exist.
  He believed the council had a duty to lead the preparing for climate change in the same manner that the council planned and prepared for floods.
  "Council has to have a view to be a model for the rest of the community to follow."
  To produce policy which was required by the Government to take into account man-made global warming and not take a stated position on the issue struck him as being at odds and he planned to keep bringing the question up until it was resolved, Cr Guyton said.
  "They want to have a bob each way so they are not embarrassed if they take a position which is later proven wrong."
  Chairwoman Ali Timms said as a regional council Environment Southland did not need to take a position on climate change but did have to make policy for it.
  Planning for climate change was compulsory for the council under the Resource Management Act and other legislation, she said.
  The council was required to take a precautionary approach in planning for global warming but was not required to take a public position on the issue., Ms Timms said.
  "The fact that we plan for it makes it known that we think it is an issue...[that] we take it quite seriously.
  Cr Nicol Horrell said he, like many rural people, was a climate change skeptic.
  He suspected Cr Guyton wanted to use a formal position on the issue for his own anti-mining agenda.
  "The big issue for us all is we take a pledge to do the best for Southland and it's [climate change] outside our brief really."
  The council was already taking a pragmatic approach to sea level rise, he said.
  Like a lot of farmers, I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea the emissions trading scheme is going to save the planet.
  His research before the meeting had led him to believe the case for carbon dioxide causing climate change might be overstated, he said.
  Taking a formal position on the issue that was again becoming contentious was not a good idea for the council, he said.

4 comments:

paulinem said...

The sad reality is the sceptics will still be saying CC is a myth when it has become way too late.

Warning bells as to the melting Arctic ocean and the horrific summer weather various parts of the NH should be taken notice off.

Why do they think food they grow or produce is becoming in such high demand in countries not normally supplied ..ahhh maybe because due to extreme ABNORMAL weather these countries food sources have failed!!

BUT no the sceptics will continually bury their head like an ostrich and say its all BS. I have seeing research is all over estimated, ( who did the research -ie was it a CREDIBLE source ) there is no such thing as CC its all over estimated.

Oh yeah yeah says the Tui advertisement

A FACT our present weather patterns are formed something like 40 YEARS ago...at present the weather patterns for 2053 will be beginning to form in the Antarctic and the Arctic Ocean !! Yeah this is how long it takes to change the pattern of weather the globe will endure !!

bsprout said...

Agree, Pauline! It is rather sad that the ETS is the only vehicle available to address the causes of climate change and those that emit the most are now exempted from the scheme indefinitely. Not only that, but the price of carbon credits have dropped to virtually nothing because the Government allowed an open market and allowed the entry of some rather dodgy cheap ones. Now there is absolutely no incentive to stop emitting greenhouse gasses or any incentive to invest in activities that mitigate the causes (like planting trees).

As Jeanette Fitzsimons has suggested, we are hurtling towards a precipice and we have a rather muted argument whether we should change down a gear or not. The science is there but the skeptics are winning.

wildcrafty said...

What is ES's policy on CC? Does it have a plan?

robertguyton said...

The don't have one, Wildcrafty, and refuse to discuss it, unless I press them, so I am. We have various policies that relate to climate change, so how we can 'not have a position' on AGW bemuses me - it seems illogical. Watch this space.