Rather than praising the Paris climate agreement as an 'incredible achievement', James Shaw and the Green Party should be denouncing it as a failure and a fraud.

GIVEN THE MISGUIDED IDEOLOGICAL BELIEF of the Green Party that somehow capitalism can be the saviour of our planet rather than its destroyer, it came as no surprise that co-leader James Shaw should wax lyrical over the Paris climate agreement.

 If you look to the horizon now, you can see little James tugging desperately on the chain of the capitalist beast as it drags him - and the rest of us - to the abyss of environmental disaster.

'Stay calm and don't panic!' cries out little James. 'There is a green capitalism! I know what I'm doing!"

“There’s no doubt this is an historic moment,' Shaw says in his prepared media statement.'“It’s not a perfect deal by any means and there are lots of details to work out but it’s frankly an incredible achievement.”

Putting aside the obvious fact that the purpose of this conference was to work out the details of an agreement, why is it an 'incredible achievement?' According to Shaw and the Green Party its because it 'commits' the countries of the world – including New Zealand – "to bring their domestic policies in line with a goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C."

But it does nothing of the sort. Shaw should not be knocking back champagne in Paris and congratulating the conference for a job well done, but condemning this agreement for consigning the world to an increase in global warning of 3-4 celsius. That's the estimate of Naomi Klein, who - unlike Shaw - knows what she's talking about.

Despite what Shaw claims, this agreement commits the countries of the world, including New Zealand, to nothing.

Pablo Solon: Paris agreement is 'a farce, a sham'.
All the participants have done is promise to lower their carbon emissions, there is nothing that binds any government to changing their domestic polices in order to lower global warming. They might claim this is the goal, but there's no program for achieving it. Everything's 'aspirational'.

The former Bolivian ambassador and climate change negotiator Pablo Solón has displayed the kind of hard nosed realism and honesty not displayed by James Shaw. He has described the agreement as 'a farce, a sham'.

Says Solon: "The COP is a summit of schizophrenic governments because they say they want to reduce emissions but they don’t mention the source of emissions–which is fossil fuel extraction and deforestation. A coherent way to address this would be to establish a limit of extraction of fossil fuels and an immediate end to deforestation. If these two measures are not adopted, how are we going to reduce emissions? Magic? Impossible.”

The figures are also suspect, to say the least, although James Shaw and the Green Party have swallowed them, hook, line and sinker. Says Shaw: '“What Paris has shown is that the world is moving only in one direction, and that is towards a low-carbon future. Countries like the US and China are at the forefront of that shift. New Zealand needs to catch up.”

Shaw is badly wrong again. China says it will cut its emissions only in terms of carbon intensity. But as Jonathan Neale points out:

"Carbon intensity is the amount of carbon in fossil fuels that is needed to produce the same amount of work. Carbon intensity has been going down in the United States for a hundred years. It is going down all over the world. This is because we learn to use coal, oil and gas more efficiently, just like we learn to use everything else in industry more productively. So a promise to cut carbon intensity is a promise to increase emissions."

If you want to learn more about how the figures have been juggled and massaged, Jonathan Neale is worth reading here.

To defend this empty agreement as a 'first step' to real change, as the Green's Julie Anne Genter did on Paul Henry this morning, is simply unacceptable. The future of the planet is at stake and to defend an agreement like this makes Genter and the Green Party complicit in a massive fraud being foisted on us all.

The Green Party should be listening to people like Pablo Solon: "The Paris Agreement repeats old mistakes and will fail. The answer lies in a self-organized, self-conscious and empowered humanity that believes in itself and nature more than in technology and market forces."

James Shaw says that “If there’s ever a time to stop making excuses, it’s now.” I agree. James Shaw and the Green Party should stop defending and making excuses for this agreement. They should stop doing it now.


  1. I feel completely vindicated and if you read the comments on The Daily Blog post of mine you will see that there are a number of disaffected Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand supporters with similar concerns to mine.
    Speak truth to youth.


Comments are moderated.