by Cameron Slater on March 29, 2018 at 9:00am
Rodney Hide wants Jacinda Ardern to put her money where her mouth is on fossil fuels in his latest column for NBR:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the world has moved on from fossil fuels. It’s a nice line but it’s wrong. The world is burning more oil, gas and coal than ever before.
Fossil fuel consumption has rocketed up 57% since the 1992 Earth Summit when the “world” set the goal of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions. Despite all the jamborees, communiques, policies and air miles since, the world has not moved on. Far from it.
President Barack Obama declared in 2008 that future generations would look back on his nomination as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Fast forward 10 years and he’s still – as we know – helicoptering to play golf. Flowery green rhetoric always marches hand-in-hand with great dollops of hypocrisy.
True to pattern, Ms Ardern has told Greenpeace activists she is “working hard” on ending oil and gas exploration. I don’t know what “working hard” could possibly entail. It’s easy for a government to ban exploration. It could be done in a day. It would be extraordinarily dumb and very costly but it would not be hard.
The “hard work” line is just political flimflam.
But then so is banning exploration. It’s the idea that somehow if New Zealand stopped looking for oil and gas, New Zealand would stop using oil and gas. It doesn’t follow. Oil and gas are traded around the world.
Rodney is right. It is just flim-flam. Our Prime Minister has plenty more flimflam statements she can trot out too. Her comments are just virtue signalling when you look at the facts like Rodney has:
New Zealand’s production is a drop in the bucket. In BP’s statistical review, New Zealand’s gas production is lumped in with “Other Asia Pacific.”
The more sensible approach would be to figure out how to get by without using oil and gas and so eliminate the need for exploration. Now that would be hard work. And to ban the use of oil and gas while the country is heavily dependent on both would plunge New Zealand into a new dark age.
And that’s where Ms Ardern’s thinking falls apart. She appears to be the hippie in the smoky bus with a “ban drilling” bumper sticker. Except she’s not. She’s the prime minister.
The hippie’s hypocrisy is amusing. The prime minister’s is dangerous.
It makes for “bumper sticker” government, without understanding or thought of consequence.
Bumper-sticker slogans is all Jacinda Ardern has got; it is all she has ever had. Rodney calls her out, challenging her to live her own rhetoric:
Instead of musing about a post-fossil fuel world, Ms Ardern should live it. So should the signatories to the Greenpeace petition calling for the end of oil and gas exploration. Anything less is dishonest politics.
Prime Minister Ardern and her partner have a huge carbon footprint by the nature of their work and lifestyle. Her work to ban exploration would have sting if she first showed by example how it’s possible to “move on” from fossil fuels.
Even better, she should get the “whole-of” government to move on from fossil fuels. It would be wonderful. That would be instant small and limited government. We would be left free to live our lives and to prosper with precious fossil fuels reserved for fun and production and no longer wasted on talking heads and oppressive bureaucracy.
Jacinda Ardern can’t forgo her fossil fuel use. How else would she be able to jet back to Auckland and rush home in a crown limousine to keep the dog on the porch?