Owen Jennings

I remember my father talking of surviving during the great 1929 depression. Meals consisted of what they could grow – often a carrot, a spud and an onion. No credit at the local shop. No new clothes, no car, homemade everything. People knocking on doors asking for food and a bed.  It was very tough.

Within a few years the country was thrown into the turmoil of a world war. Hardship was accompanied by the desperation of losing loved ones. The pain was unthinkable.

It was tough going through the 1984/85 changes too. Farmers lost their properties, rural businesses folded and many workers were thrown on the scrap heap.

Try and imagine the misery and disruption of an event as bad as the three of those events all rolled into one. It’s impossible. Surely nothing could be that bad?

Rod Carr, the ‘Climate Tsar’, believes there might be something – he calls it “the transformation of Aotearoa into an emissions-free country”. He thinks the next decade could rival the sum of those three parts. If that does not shock you, it should. Carr is a highly intelligent, experienced economist. He was once one heartbeat away from running the Reserve Bank. If he says it is going to be rough I believe him. He is ringing alarm bells and Kiwis need to wake up and wake up real soon.

What is different about the tough times expected is that it is all planned. It is contrived. It is deliberate. We are consciously taking a massive axe to our economy. Jobs will go. Businesses will collapse and disappear. Exports will drop. Costs will rocket. Disruption in every home, on every road and town. Blackouts. Crime rate increases.

The very frightening thing is we have little idea of the real cost impact.

With the tools we have today, the expert resources available you would expect there to be carefully assessed impacts, precise analysis and conservative plans on how to weave our way through, surely?

Well, actually, no. We haven’t got the foggiest notion of what is going to happen. Pull a number out of your hat for the impact on GDP. You could be closer than Rod Carr and his team. Not that you can know what Rod thinks about the details of the impact and how it was arrived at.  He has that hidden from public view. 

The Commission found the cost of action was lower than previously expected – less than 1 percent of projected annual GDP. They believe GDP in 2050 will be $508 billion as opposed to $512 billion if we did nothing. If you believe that I have a bridge for sale…

How come the next decade could be worse economically than the three largest hits on our economy ever, rolled together, yet the impact will be less than 1% of projected GDP? Pull the other leg.

If you are looking for an engineering input into critical issues like how we will power our homes and factories in 10 and 20 years time, forget it. Those who have looked are horrified. Professor Michael Kelly, PhD, FRS, FREng ex Cambridge University has estimated we need 150% more electricity than we have now to run our electric cars and factory boilers. 

Where will that come from? More hydro? No. Twigs and feathers killed Mokihinui. Lower Waitaki? RMA killed that. Upper Clutha? Nah, too many of the beautiful people live up there now.

Nuclear?  Maybe if we get desperate enough but we can’t crank it up in the timeframe. More windmills? Yep, they will fill 5% to 10% of the hole. Solar? Another 10%. After that it is coal or blackouts. What an irony that we need coal to fire up our electric cars! It is already happening out there – imported coal to boot. It will get much, much worse.

Then there is the Transpower grid. It needs a massive and expensive upgrade including new Cook Strait cables. It could take 10 years just to get consents for pylons even with a Ministerial call in.

Try doing a fast charge on your EV while dinner is on the cooktop, daughter is having her long shower and it is a cold, still night. Your 15 amp fuses and wiring will go ‘poof’ just before the lights go out across the country.  The Commission didn’t reckon on that.

Reality is we have designed a future using environmentalists. Engineers and accountants were not wanted. They would have raised difficult, even impossible questions.Horribly biased politicians asked horribly biased “experts” to recommend a way forward. Minister Shaw had the gall to call them “independent”. Gosh, they must have had a great laugh about that when they first met.  “Independent”?? About as independent as Tana refereeing the Blues.

These ill-equipped people are proposing a fortress NZ with more regulations and government controls than Muldoon could even have dreamt about. Move over North Korea. If there ever needed to be a mechanism to deal with CO2 the ETS alone would be smarter, more effective and less intrusive.

The use of ‘Aotearoa’ instead of New Zealand throughout the whole Commission’s report told us something. A bunch of idealistic ideologues running a campaign determined to shove something, which the majority find unacceptable, down our throats.

Our lightweight, outcome-challenged, “do nothing” government will have the final recommendations by the end of the year. The recommendations will not change much because the answers were banked long before the process began. Maybe it is Jacinda’s timidity that will save us…  the government might be frozen in the headlights as it is on housing, poverty, opening borders, etc. How safe is that reliance with National apparently happy flying close behind in their dirty air?

China, India and Africa might help save us too. They have set their own weak targets for emissions and are relying on the Green Climate Fund to finance their plans. The fund was going to have US$100 billion to play with. They have pledges for $9 billion and only peanuts actually in the bank. It’s the same old story – everyone you ask, from John Citizen to the USA government, wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. Climate change mitigation is great but do not ask me to pay for it.

At the end of all this pain and disruption, what will the planet have to show for it? Bjorn Lomborg, who is no mug and a warmist says if all countries fall into line by 2100 there would be a saving of a grand 0.17°C – or a reduction of SEVENTEEN ONE HUNDREDTHS of a degree Celsius in warming by 2100.That is pathetic – immeasurable. 

So when you are sitting in the dark on a cold, windless night, waiting for an electric ambulance that can’t be powered up to arrive to take your Mum to a hospital running on fossil fuels, following her heart attack, just remember what a noble sacrifice you and she are making – all for 0.17 of a degree C.  

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