Covering Climate Now: Earlier this year, the climate change response (zero carbon) bill had its first reading. The public was then invited to submit their takes on it to the government. We assessed a few of the stranger ones.
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The government has to weigh each bill submission as equal, because it loves democracy. Unfortunately, not all submissions are created equal. Some are copypastas from Generation Zero. Others are group brainstorms by farming collectives. Most have a firm grasp on the world around them.
Around 15,000 submissions were received by the select committee on the zero carbon bill, and there were clear trends. More than 90% of the country wants:
- A target of net zero emissions across all greenhouse gases by 2050
- The establishment of an independent climate commission to advise government
- Provisions to help the country adapt to climate change’s effects
Suggestions almost as popular were:
- Tighter methane restrictions
- Increased urgency of carbon neutrality
- Mandatory consideration of the bill by all government departments
- Legal deterrents to failure
The vast majority of submissions were by people who had read the bill, and had something to add. There were some off-beat submissions, sure: oil companies wanted to let the free market take care of things; farmers rambled about relaxing methane restrictions because it’s actually good for the planet; some submissions were just brags about a company’s environmental achievements.
Those were all expected. Others weren’t. These are submissions straight from Alex Jones’ fever dreams.
Humans are meant to be carnivores
Tony only eats meat and is terrified the meat will be taken away. He believes the gas emitted by people with fibrous diets is more of a concern than cow methane emissions, and honestly? I can’t find evidence to refute this.
This man, who we can assume is Jordan Peterson submitting under a pseudonym, sees a future in which drones will prowl the skies searching for climate criminals, ie anyone who owns an unregistered cow.
His suggestions for the bill include rethinking the big food lobby and funding independent studies on the human diet. He actually has another novel suggestion that’s actually relevant suggestion in a government-funded fossil fuel car buyback.
Computers aren’t science
Christopher, whose submission is entirely in bold, is unconvinced of man-made climate change and would like a royal commission of inquiry modelled on last year’s Housing New Zealand Meth Report.
Fair’s fair, Chris won’t believe the climate crisis is happening until he has some cold, hard, royally-commissioned facts in front of him. It’s a good thing the best scientific minds in the world have reached a consensus on it then, eh?
Ah, hang on a minute, did any of these scientists use computer modelling? Was any of the information “UN-initiated”? Nope, sorry, that’s not science.
If we go zero carbon we will all die
Peter paid attention in fifth form science. He knows that all life on Earth is carbon-based. So why are we trying to get rid of carbon?! It’s madness! Carbon monoxide is bad, he admits – but dioxide? No way.
He says, without citing any sources, that if carbon dioxide drops then life on our planet could cease to exist. He has attached an image of a man with a pine tree, or perhaps four different pine trees, each with a number above it that probably indicates an amount of carbon dioxide (no explanatory information is provided). The more carbon dioxide the tree is exposed to, the bigger it is (again, this is a guess, no context has been provided for the image).
What Peter’s done here is demonstrate carbon sequestration, which we will, in fact, be seeing more of thanks to the zero carbon bill. Nice one, Peter!
Carbon dioxide is fine
Another big fan of carbon is old mate William, a “freelance scientist”. No specialty – he does it all. He went to the same university as UK weatherman Piers Corbyn (Jezza Corbyn’s brother), so he knows what he’s talking about when he says: “CO2 IS irrelevant to climate change”.
He alleges that Trump knows this, and that’s what guides his brilliant choices on climate. William believes the government should be reading the works of Habibullo Ismailovich Abdussamatov, who predicted an ice age would begin in 2014, and Dr Willie Soon, who has received over US $1 million from petroleum and coal companies.
William feels very strongly that the mainstream media is hiding the truth, but can’t say why, or what exactly that truth is. Sadly, we are edgy and independent therefore cannot shine any light on what the mainstream media is hiding.
We must immediately cull the population
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This is mostly a good submission. Paul is right to say we need to act quickly to avert the climate crisis. He talks about a circular economy, and about economies that function within the limits of the Earth’s resources.
Nothing wrong with these suggestions until we get to his final one: “The human population on the planet must be kept below what will allow the resources of the planet to be shared equally.” There are probably some benign ways to interpret this, but given his emphasis on acting quickly, I think we all know what Paul is proposing.
All submissions are publically available, for those interested in learning more about the truth.
The Spinoff’s science content is made possible thanks to the support of The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, a national institute devoted to scientific research.