All the talks, all of the photo opportunities, all of the chances to press the flesh are meaningless if there is not solid policy announced as a result of them. Whether the World Economic Forum announces something with the United States or without it is not the point, but whether it has the gumption to announce anything at all.
The scale of the effects that carbon are having on the planet is too vast to ignore. Whether one agrees climate change is the cause of it or not, there is still a strong case to announce significant policy on reducing carbon. The non climate change case for action can be built around the following:
- The carbonisation of the sea is making it increasingly acidic, so that those life forms in the oceans such as marine reefs, shellfish and crustaceans are struggling because their solid matter is attacked by the acidic sea water
- Massive scale biodiversity loss across the world, including in New Zealand has the potential to upend the entire food chain: those nations whose customary diets involve fish, chicken, beef, pork are ones with less political stability than New Zealand – what would happen if acute and prolonged shortages were to occur
- Air pollution in cities such as Beijing, Delhi, Jakarta, Tehran is often at levels that would trigger an emergency response in New Zealand – in each of these cities thousands die each year from respiratory illnesses triggered by very bad air pollution
- Has anyone given thought to what future generations will be growing up in – judging by the “economy first” approach of many, my guess is no
These are just a few points around which a strong non-climate change approach could be built.
Due to the fact that making a living and paying taxes somehow is fundamental to economics, as well as maintaining ones dignity, this idea of the far left that economics can somehow be put aside simply is not going to work. We will need transport of some sort and to make that transport system run we are going to need energy. No one has mentioned electric freight trains yet, but if you are going to get diesel trains of the track, you need a ready to go alternative, which right now does not demonstrably exist. Electric cars are in their infancy, both in terms of numbers, infrastructure to support them and affordability.
Politicians talk, soldiers act. Or so the saying goes. In this case politicians do indeed continue to talk, meanwhile with lack of guidance from above in terms of clear policy directives, N.G.O.’s are starting to act and credit to them for trying because there is no Planet B. Forget about that. Planet A is Planet B. Solid policy is necessary along with matching objectives to meet in enacting that policy and rules to enable those objectives.