Comments on the draft of “Powering Our Future”

Commentary, Energy, Owen McShane


This is only a brief commentary as it would take many days to work through the strategy and comment comprehensivly on it. I have therefore concentrated on what I believe to be the major shortcoming in the strategy and then on various aspects on which I have specialist knowledge.

I have read – and written – many reports of this type over the last 40 years. This report stands out of from the others because it is wordy, repetitious short on hard information, treats supposition and uncertainty as fact, and ignores options that should be considered.

In my view, if New Zealand’s Energy Strategy proceeds as outlined in this document, it will be a disaster for New Zealand.

The major shortcoming.

The strategy takes the view that climate change (more properly described as “man-made global warming”) is real and dangerous and carbon emissions are a major problem. Following on from that there is an unstated belief that New Zealand will benefit greatly if it reduces its manmade emissions – even though this may be very expensive.

The scientific evidence supporting the belief that climate change is real and dangerous is not strong. The science is full of uncertainties and a careful reading of the latest IPCC “Summary for Policymakers” reveals that they are saying no more than “we are 90% sure that more than 51% of the recent warming is man-made”. They also point out that the world is warmer than it was 500 years ago – the middle of the little ice age. They suggest that the world might be warmer than it has been in the last 1300 years but without providing any hard evidence.

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