Conservatives, climate change and zealots

One of the mysteries of life for me is how so many “conservatives” blithely dismiss the scientists who believe human created climate change is a real problem that must be addressed on several fronts.

As a non-scientist I retained a healthy scepticism for some years until the evidence piled up about greenhouse gasses and their likely impact on the climate and sea levels etc.   I think a true conservative would be seriously interested in conservation and thus alert to environmental threats.  I expect a conservative would be prepared to take precautionary action, even when the risk is not proven beyond all doubt.

Fortunately in New Zealand the climate debate has not gone off on the extreme tangents seen elsewhere.  The difference here between National and Labour is not great.   But in Australia and the USA and elsewhere this is not the case, which is a tragedy for the environment and bad for democracy also.

In New Zealand we do have climate zealots who are another mystery for me.  Our contribution to greenhouse gasses is I think about 0.17% of global emissions.  This means if all mammals, including humans disappeared from this country, the global impact would be very close to zip.  People should stop pretending if only we take drastic action the climate would be stabilised.  It won’t and adults should not lead children to believe otherwise.

I think New Zealand should be an internationally responsible citizen and do its bit.   We don’t need to be world leaders but can and should be somewhat better than average.  But at a practical level given the indifferent performance of most countries, we should place more emphasis on mitigating the effects of climate change, particularly rising sea levels.




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