Concern is building about the future of climate change policies in New Zealand. This is because of the confidence and supply agreement between the National Party and the small extremist Act Party which provides for a select committee to consider these policies.
A fresh consideration of political policies may well be required. But from a scientific viewpoint there is a danger of this being used by the climate change denial industry to launch a new propaganda offensive (see the current NZ Listener editorial Nothing to Hide). A clause in the National-Act agreement provides that the select committee hear “competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change from internationally respected sources.” Rodney Hide will obviously attempt to use this clause to sneak in “internationally respected” climate change deniers – to place non-scientific beliefs on the same level as evidence based science.
Fortunately the National-led government is not completely dependent on the Act Party – which after all received just over 3% of the votes in November’s election. There may be divisions within the National Party that Hide can exploit. But there is a clear mandate for the government to stand firm – and the science is not on Hide’s side.
A new blog – Don’t be a Rodney, John Key – calls on Prime Minister Key to stand up to Hide and follow the lead of US president Elect Barack Obama. His recent statement is very relevant to New Zealand (see President-elect Obama promises “new chapter” on climate change):
“Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”