Cr MacTavish in tears as climate plan debated

Jinty MacTavish
Jinty MacTavish
There were emotional scenes as Dunedin city councillors agreed to accelerate the pace of a three-year climate change planning project yesterday.

Cr Jinty MacTavish, speaking at yesterday's 2011-12 pre-draft annual plan hearing, burst into tears as she argued passionately for her recommendation to condense the project into two years.

A staff report to councillors had recommended completing the work over three years, as planned, at a cost of $67,000 each year, plus additional costs to employ a sustainability adviser.

Condensing the work into one year would cost the city an extra $295,000, for which no budget existed, while doing it over two years instead would still cost $227,500, the report by council corporate policy team manager Nicola Johnston said.

However, Cr MacTavish said she would be "doing an injustice to the future generations I'm here to try and represent" if she did not fight to have the pace of the work increased.

The city faced "enormous" costs in adapting to climate change, which would only grow the longer work was delayed, and having the information available as soon as possible would allow future generations to say "Yes, at least they tried", she argued.

"This should not be a financial decision - this should be a risk-management decision."

Her pleas won support from a majority of councillors, but not Cr Syd Brown and a sceptical Cr Lee Vandervis, who both worried about the extra cost involved.

Cr Brown could not justify the extra burden on ratepayers given advice from University of Otago emeritus professor of geography Blair Fitzharris, a climate change expert, that the council would have "plenty of time" to prepare.

Cr Vandervis also poured scorn on Cr Kate Wilson's suggestion the council should be seen to be leading research on climate change, describing the position as "hysteria" and "completely and utterly unbelievable".

He believed much of the work could instead be carried out free of charge by University of Otago graduates on the council's behalf.

However, Cr MacTavish's pleas appeared to sway Mayor Dave Cull, who initially indicated he supported starting the work with a three-year timeframe, but with the option to review progress after 12 months.

When it came to the vote, however, he switched his position to support Cr MacTavish's recommendation.

Councillors voted 7-4 in favour of accelerating the work.

In the near future

The impact of increased taxes and other issues all to supposedly 'save the planet' will force, eventually, millions into near starvation.  The Green Party, and the GW fanatics will claim that this is perfectly acceptable, as with less humans, then less impact on our climate.

Far from 'people like me' that the public of tomorrow will blame for what our future holds, it is people like me that they will look to, and ask why they did not listen, and stop this new industry before it ruined the world's economy - for nothing.

What has been, will be


Yes, CO2 has exerted a controlling influence on climate over Earth's 4.5 billion year history. It is also undeniable that humans are rapidly changing the balance by emitting hundreds of millions of years worth of slowly sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, no one can predict what this will hold for the future with absolute certainty so we are faced with two options: continue business as usual now and risk that climate may warm in the future with significant adaption cost, or incur the cost of switching to renewable energy now and risk that climate does not warm in the future. As a geologist, I understand that the supply of fossil fuels is finite and that the solar energy Earth receives is free, so, for me, the choice is easy even without considering the risks of climate change. Folks with a lot invested in business as usual obviously may see things differently.

I hope in many years to come, people will never forget that contrarians such as yourself helped delay what is an inevitable and necessary transition in energy supply. 

Congrats to our courageous councillors

Thanks to seven councillors (and Jinty McTavish in particular) for taking a strong, principled stand on climate change issues and the need to identify predicted effects on the city and the means of addressing those. 

We cannot afford to wait three years for studies that enable Council to formulate strategies to address the effects. The mitigation costs will escalate dramatically if appropriate actions are delayed or deferred as Dunedin stands to lose more land and amenities than many cities due to its low lying areas of South Dunedin, Taieri and the extensive harbour and coastal zones.

At last we have a group of councillors who are capable of understanding the importance of the interconnected environmental, social and economic issues and have the courage to lead the change process.

Millions of years of climate change

The climate has changed one way or another for hundreds of millions of years.  The arrogance of humans to think that somehow increasing taxes, and changing our heating and transport systems will put a stop to this is - well obviously complete.

Emotions such as those shown by this councillor are  a perfect example of what has driven the GW Scam for the last few years, emotional arguments about, yes, the weather.

In many years to come, people will laugh about the ignorance and arrogance, yet by then many hundreds of thousands would have suffered from the increased taxes, etc, brought on by the emotion driven scam. 


From Us to You

Thank you, Councillors. For doing what was right. After so many years of apathy driving the city, it's still hard to believe that we've at last got some people (sadly not all) willing to stand up when it counts. Proud of you.

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