“Time to take a historic step for climate change”

From the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

Time to take a historic step for climate change, says Environment Commissioner

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has issued a rallying call to MPs of all parties: it’s time to come together to tackle climate change.

“Climate change is the ultimate intergenerational issue,” said Dr Wright. “It’s a huge challenge. And not just for the current Government, but also for the Governments that succeed them into the future, be they blue, red, green, or any other colour,”

In a new report, the Commissioner acknowledges that the Government has made progress since the Paris agreement. And the cross-party working group on climate change has been a welcome development. But she says it’s now time to take the next step.

“There is an opportunity here for the next Parliament to build on recent developments and take a historic step forward that will be credited for generations to come,” said Dr Wright.

Dr Wright has recommended a new Act that is similar to the UK Climate Change Act. This is a law that was passed with overwhelming cross-party support in the House of Commons in 2008. At least nine other countries have since passed similar legislation, including Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A similar law in New Zealand would put emissions targets into law, and require the setting of carbon budgets that would act as stepping stones towards the targets. It would also establish a high-powered independent expert group that would crunch the numbers and provide objective advice.

“There has been a lot of debate around what our targets should be,” said Dr Wright. “But I’m much more interested in how we are actually going to achieve them.”

The Commissioner says underlining her recommendations is the need for a long-term approach to climate change.

“When it comes to climate change, we need to get used to looking decades ahead,” said Dr Wright. “The world is going to be a very different place in the future.”

The report is subtitled Climate change, progress, and predictability. Dr Wright says businesses and investors are crying out for some predictability in New Zealand’s response to climate change.

“Many businesses are keen to take advantage of the opportunities of moving to a low-carbon economy, but they need more predictability before they invest.”

The Commissioner’s report, Stepping stones to Paris and beyond: Climate change, progress, and predictability, is available here. A set of frequently asked questions is available here.

Highest recorded level of CO2 in May

According to Climate Central carbon dioxide peaked at 409.65 ppm in May, the highest recorded and higher than research indicates there has been in human history.

However the current estimate Earth’s CO2 Home Page is 408.84, still very high, and an increase on last year (406.81).


NASA:  The relentless rise of carbon dioxide


If fossil-fuel burning continues at a business-as-usual rate, such that humanity exhausts the reserves over the next few centuries, CO2 will continue to rise to levels of order of 1500 ppm. The atmosphere would then not return to pre-industrial levels even tens of thousands of years into the future. This graph not only conveys the scientific measurements, but it also underscores the fact that humans have a great capacity to change the climate and planet.

NASA: Evidence

The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.


100 years of ‘climate change’

An interesting report from over a hundred years ago:

Now, from Business Insider: Even if every country on the planet cuts emissions, the climate would still be screwed

A planet devastated by climate change may seem like a distant future. But Earth is already experiencing the effects of rising global temperatures today.

Worldwide, the mean rate of sea level rise increased 50% in the last two decades. In 2017, temperatures have already reached their highest levels in history in some areas, from California to Vietnam. The past three years were the hottest on record.

These changes are caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the Earth’s atmosphere, a product of human activity. And as New York Magazine’s David Wallace-Wells recently noted, no single emissions reduction program we have today is enough to prevent climate disaster — not even the Paris agreement.

Possibly. Predictions and projections should be of major concern, but what will actually happen is uncertain.

We could be saved, for a while at least, by another Krakatoa type eruption.

Even if every signatory country in the accord meets its current pledge for reducing emissions — including the US, though Trump has pledged to pull the country out of the agreement — the world is still projected to warm over 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. The Paris agreement points out this reality in a section titled, “Notes with concern.”

Two degrees may not seem like much, but the rise would have substantial impacts. Scientists say that places that supply the world’s food, including Southern Europe and much of the Middle East, Australia, Africa, South America, and China, would be in permanent, extreme drought by 2080. Flooding would become a serious issue near the coasts, where a third of the world’s major cities are located, since sea levels are projected to rise by at least 10 feet by the end of the century.

Experts also warn that if the Arctic ice continues to melt, ancient diseases trapped in glaciers could get released. Plus, the world would face the extinction of many animal species and rising human mortality.

The planet has already warmed nearly 1 degree Celsius, and James Hansen, a renowned climate scientist at Columbia University, suggested in a recent paper that keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees is nearly impossible. Hansen suggested that hitting the goal would require negative emissions levels, which would mean capturing carbon and taking it out of the atmosphere.

To make matters worse, our best protection against the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels comes from so-called “carbon sinks” — patches of land and ocean that absorb large chunks of the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere. But now those sinks may be at capacity, prompting the Earth to continue cooking even as emissions get curbed.

Another ‘may be’. The science is still being worked on. What if the majority of current climate science turns out to be wrong?

What if things turn out to be worse than major predictions, rather than not as bad?

If science is inaccurate it could just as easily be inaccurately under predicting as over predicting. You can’t assume inaccuracies will work in your favour.

G19 versus USA on “irreversible” Paris climate agreement

The US remained separated from the G20 on climate change at the summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The Guardian:  Trump left in cold over Paris climate agreement at end of G20 summit

Donald Trump was left isolated at the end of a fractious G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, after every other world leader signed up to a declaration that the Paris climate agreement was irreversible following an unprecedented standoff.

After the publication of a final communique that saw the emergence of a G19 grouping for the first time, Theresa May said she was “dismayed at the US decision to pull out” of the accord and had personally urged the president to reconsider.

“I did bring the issue of climate change agreement up with President Trump.

“I have had a number of conversations with him while I’ve been here at the G20. What I did was encourage him to bring the United States back into the Paris agreement, and I continue to hope that’s what the United States will do.”


More from Politico: G20 leaders — except Donald Trump — declare Paris climate deal ‘irreversible’

Leaders of the G20 richest nations agreed to disagree on climate change, unanimously supporting a final communiqué in which all of them except U.S. President Donald Trump declare the Paris climate agreement to be “irreversible” and needing action “swiftly.”

The text of the final communiqué, seen by POLITICO, does contain face-saving language for Trump though, stating that “[the U.S.] will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.”

The unanimous statement — with a carve-out for Trump — is a diplomatic coup for the summit’s host, German Chancellor Angel Merkel, who had been determined to cement the unity of the G19 in the face of Trump’s intention to pull out of the climate agreement. There had been fears that the U.S. could peel off one or two other countries in a bid to significantly water down the final text on climate change.

According to the text obtained by POLITICO, the G20 leaders will declare:

“We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The United States of America announced it will immediately cease the implementation of its current nationally-determined contribution and affirms its strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs. The United States of America states it will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their nationally-determined contributions.

“The Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible. We reiterate the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC [UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes and acknowledge the OECD’s report “Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth”. We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, moving swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and, to this end, we agree to the G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth as set out in the Annex.”

Trump also seems out of step with a majority of Americans and about half of Trump voters.

Yale poll: By more than 5 to 1, voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris Climate Agreement

The US should participate in the Paris Climate Agreement – registered voters:

  • Yes – 69%
  • No – 13%

Yes by political affiliation:

  • Republicans – 51%
  • Moderate/liberal Republicans – 73%
  • Independents – 61%
  • Democrats – 86%

47% of  Trump’s voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris agreement, compared with only 28% who say the U.S. should not.

More from the Yale program on Climate Communication: Climate Change in the American Mind: May 2017

  • 58% believe climate change is mostly human caused
  • 30% say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment
  • 39% think the odds that global warming will cause humans to become extinct are 50% or higher
  • 58% think the odds of human extinction from global warming are less than 50%

Most important reason to reduce global warming:

  • 24% say providing a better life for our children and grandchildren
  • 16% preventing the destruction of most life on the planet
  • 13% protecting God’s creation



Merkel, Macron to challenge Trump over climate change

The G20 (Group of 20 economic powers) will meet in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July. Angela Merkel has signalled she will challenge Donald Trump on climate change and “isolationism and protectionism”.

A week after attending the G7 last month Trump said that the US would pull out of the Paris climate agreement. He appeared to not want to address it up front while meeting with other world leaders.

Reuters: Merkel issues warning to Trump ahead of G20 summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to fight for free trade and press on with multilateral efforts to combat climate change at the G20 summit next week, challenging the “America First” policies of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In a defiant speech to parliament a week before she will host a summit of the world’s top economic powers in Hamburg, the northern port city where she was born, Merkel did not mention Trump by name but said global problems could not be solved with protectionism and isolation.

“These will not be easy talks,” Merkel said. “The differences are obvious and it would be wrong to pretend they aren’t there. I simply won’t do this.”

Ahead of the G20 summit, Trump’s administration has threatened to take punitive trade measures against China, including introducing tariffs on steel imports.

Merkel’s trade challenge:

“Anybody who believes the problems of the world can be solved with isolationism and protectionism is making a big mistake,” Merkel said.

Merkel and Macron on the Paris accord:

Merkel said she was “more determined than ever” to make the Paris accord a success since Trump’s decision to pull out, calling climate change an “existential challenge”.

“We cannot wait until every last person on earth has been convinced of the scientific proof,” she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in Berlin for the meeting of EU leaders, which included the prime ministers of Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Britain, said he hoped the United States would “return to reason” on climate.

Trump is unlikely to backtrack on fulfilling one of the election promises he followed through on. It will be interesting to see whether he is willing to engage and debate at the G20 meeting, or avoid it and do his own thing regardless.


Q+A: Trump and climate change

On NZ Q+A this morning:

Dr Adrian Macey, New Zealand’s first climate change ambassador, is interviewed live by Jessica Mutch – what does President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement really mean for NZ and climate change?

Macey was disappointed about Trump’s withdrawal but it wasn’t unexpected.

But he says that it now seems apparent that the US withdrawal isn’t going to derail the climate change measures from the rest of the world, and cities and businesses in the US have also pledged to continue addressing the issues as before despite the presidential plug pulling.

He points out that Trump is now not calling climate change a hoax, he isn’t contesting that something needs to be done, he has justified withdrawing simply on the basis of jobs.

But he points out that new and renewable energy jobs far exceed coal jobs:

The big change under Trump seems to be a withdrawal of US as a world leader.

It reminds me of a joke about the difference between the US and UK – in the UK they invite other countries to world championships. The US under Trump is at risk of becoming more self obsessed and less of the premier world power.


If there’s a real climate problem God “can take care of it”

There are a number of reports that President Donald Trump is set to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, but Trump continues to send mixed signals.

Politico: Trump expected to withdraw from Paris climate deal

President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, a White House official said Wednesday morning — only to have Trump himself revive the suspense less than an hour later.

The withdrawal would fulfill a Trump campaign promise but would be certain to infuriate America’s allies across the globe. It would threaten to destabilize the most comprehensive pact ever negotiated to blunt the most devastating effects of climate change.

Axios first reported the news that Trump would withdraw.

Administration officials sent mixed messages on Wednesday, with some saying they are confident the president will pull out and others urging caution. But officials on both sides of the issue have become increasingly convinced he plans to exit the deal, despite arguments from moderate advisers like Trump’s daughter Ivanka that withdrawing would damage U.S. relations abroad.

Reaction from the international community Wednesday was swift, mostly without mentioning Trump by name. “Climate change is undeniable,” the United Nations tweeted from its official account Wednesday morning, quoting from a speech by Secretary General António Guterres. “Climate action is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.”

A withdrawal would put the US at odds with most of the world.

Meanwhile GOP Congressman: God Will ‘Take Care Of’ Climate Change If It Exists

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) told a constituent last week that God can solve the problem of climate change if the global phenomenon truly exists.

The 66-year-old Republican, who is a climate change skeptic, made the remark at a town hall in Coldwater, Michigan, on Friday.

“I believe there’s climate change,” Walberg said, according to a video of the exchange obtained by HuffPost. “I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time. I believe there are cycles. Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.”

“Why do I believe that?” he went on. “Well, as a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.”


Antarctic glaciers may be melting less quickly

A study of some glaciers in Antarctica has found that they may be melting less quickly than previous studies have found.

UPI: Study suggests Antarctic glaciers are more stable than previously estimated

New research suggests ice flow among the glaciers on the southern Antarctic Peninsula isn’t as dramatic as previously estimated.

Glacial flow has increased since the 1990s, glaciologists at Leeds University found, but only a third as much as what was previously reported by scientists at the University of Bristol.

“Dramatic changes have been reported in this part of Antarctica, so we took a closer look at how its glaciers have evolved using 25 years of satellite measurements dating back to the early 1990s,” Leeds researcher Anna Hogg said in a news release.

Researchers used satellite data to track the advances of 30 different glaciers on the peninsula and found a significantly smaller rate of glacial advance and ice loss.

Bristol researchers reported significant ice loss and glacial thinning using a different set of satellite observations, but Hogg and her colleagues say their measurements don’t agree with such an interpretation.

The latest study, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests most of the glaciers in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula known as Palmer Land are still moving relatively slowly and have only accelerated slightly over the last two decades.

This is how science works – more research generally moves science towards greater accuracy.

But glacial trends are complex. An acceleration may stop or reverse, or it may speed up.

A cynical post on this marred by omissions at Whale Oil: The south pole is melting at only a third of the rate “scientists” have been saying it has

“Cameron Slater” claimed:

They actually checked on the assertion made by “scientists” and found there was no basis to their inflated and scary numbers.

That’s not what the report or the scientists said at all.

I may be a layperson, but if the largest mass of ice on the planet is melting at two thirds of the rate we have been expecting, aren’t we just getting a bit ahead of ourselves predicting substantial sea level rises?

The report said “only a third as much”, but they also said “suggests most of the glaciers in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula known as Palmer Land” – that’s nothing like “the largest mass of ice on the planet”, it is just a part of the Antartic Peninsula, which itself is just a small part of Antarctica.

And “predicting substantial sea level rises” misrepresents the range of predictions that have been made about possible sea level rises.

And “Cameron Slater” omitted a key paragraph from the report:

The authors of the newest analysis say they aren’t discounting the risk of climate change and global warming’s effects on Antarctica glaciers. They say it’s essential that scientists continue to monitor the impacts of warming on glaciers and sea level rise.

Further scientific research is essential on such a complex and potentially world changing thing.

There is one certainty with climate change science – variability. The climate varies all the time. Research on climate and associated science will give us varying results. And if the planet is in fact warming there will be varying effects in different places, including different parts of Antarctica.

This will mean different rates of melting and different rates of accumulation of ice over time and in different regions.

Rubbishing past scientific research because newer research gives different results is either dumb or trying to discredit things people don’t want to hear.

All research has to be considered on it’s merits accumulatively, and if it is done well greater accuracy will be attained over time. As will better knowledge and more informed debate amongst those who want to consider all science and not just the bits that suit their agendas.

Incremental v. ‘a radical and immediate departure’

Can we incrementally move towards renewable energy sources and reduced pollution and gradually clean our waterways, or do we have to take radical and immediate action to save the planet?

Green MP Gareth Hughes seems to have a softer approach to drilling oil:

Stuff: Region could become renewable energy powerhouse

Hughes was in New Plymouth on Monday to help select the Green Party candidate for the Taranaki-King Country electorate to contest this year’s election.

The party’s energy policy was to stop deep sea drilling greater than 100 metres and allow shallower inshore exploration drilling.

A ‘no drilling’ stance in Taranaki would not be good for getting party votes. Is this is why there is apparent electorate pragmatism, or does it signal a softening of approach to oil drilling and fossil fuels from the Greens?

Their Climate Change policy talks of a fossil-free economy and “deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as a step towards achieving zero emissions as early as possible”. Hughes:

“We can’t keep burning the stuff forever but no one is willing to put a date on it, or implement a plan around it.

I can’t find Greens putting a date on it, just that they want zero emissions as soon as possible.

But some want more urgent, more drastic action.

From a post at The Standard:

One of the speakers at Dunedin’s March for Science was a young woman by the name of Charlie.

Charlie knows that any talk of  transitioning to a low or zero carbon future is ‘off the table’. She knows that all the renewable resources being developed are far too little and far too late, and anyway, are being deployed on top of existing fossil sources of energy – not replacing them.

She gets that investing hope in impossible or improbable  technologies (BECCS) in impossible timeframes (less than 20 years) that sets a world of logistics off to one side, is just plain stupid and disempowering.

She’s cognisant of the fact that this isn’t ‘the Anthropocene’ as many like to claim – that it’s a small percentage of humanity that is responsible for global warming and not the entire human race fulfilling some kind of dark manifest destiny.

In a nutshell, Charlie, and I dare to hope a good number of other young people, fully understand that incrementalism – that which essentially amounts to running down the train tracks to avoid the locomotive of global warming, isn’t the direction to go in and is no kind of strategy at all.

Charlie’s aware we need a clean break – a radical and immediate departure. She looks to her possible futures and sees that only revolutionary ones contain prospects.

If even the Greens seem to be nowhere near (at least talking about) a radical and immediate departure from current policies and uses of fossil fuels then the likelihood of radical change seems very unlikely.

Charlie pointed me to the following observation made by Tim DeChristopher – “If we want to change the status quo, we might have to work outside of some of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely so we don’t make change.”

A suggestion they would resort to illegal actions?

Charlie, or Bill, don’t give any indication of what they would do or try to change urgently, they just hint at something revolutionary. Bill left ‘the last word’ to Charlie:

“I believe there is nothing more radical than burning more coal, oil and gas despite the urgent call for drastic climate action by frontline communities. There’s nothing scarier than the future of our planet, which our lives depend upon, being decided by a few powerful people.

The power to change the world right now is not democratic, but belongs to a few people. We can change that now.”

This sounds passionate but very vague. In comments Bill addressed the last word:

I’m going to go with Charlie’s last sentence and suggest that embracing and developing democratic bases of power is the way to go…in other words, bring the power back to where it rightfully belongs.

That’s not a quick fix and we don’t have time on our side, so we’d do well to start on it today.

Talk to your family, friends, acquaintances, work mates…see what you can come up with. It might only be something very small to begin with, but small things can spread and small things can grow – sometimes quite fast too 😉

There’s some interesting comments on this: Thank you Charlie.

Minister praises Green MP on climate change efforts

In Parliament this week Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett praised Green MP Dr Kennedy Graham – “Can I acknowledge the member for his tireless effort to have cross-party work”. This related to GLOBE-NZ, a cross-party group of members of Parliament that Graham chairs.

On Thursday this exchange between Bennett and Graham was more positive and more convivial than the usual questions.

Climate Change Issues, Minister—Response to Vivid Report

6. Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green) to the Minister for Climate Change Issues: Which of the four scenarios in the March 2017 Vivid report—”Off Track”, “Innovative”, “Resourceful”, or “Net Zero 2050″—is the Government considering using as the basis for its own climate planning?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Climate Change Issues): The Vivid report is a welcome addition to the debate and it outlines, as the member says, a number of scenarios that New Zealand could follow to reduce emissions. I believe there is more work to be done on the basis of that report, and I think it is a really good start, but we would have to do more work to decide which track we would go down, or whether there might be others.

Dr Kennedy Graham: Does the Minister agree with the fourth conclusion in the report—that if substantial afforestation is combined with extensive technological innovation, it could be possible to achieve domestic net zero emissions by 2050?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I do not have a crystal ball. So it is hard for me to say—[Interruption] So it is difficult for me to say what will be happening in 2050 and what those technological advances could be, but I have to say that I am hopeful.

Dr Kennedy Graham: What steps will she consider taking from here to strengthen the relationship between GLOBE New Zealand and the executive in light of recommendation No. 5 of the report?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I am very supportive of the work that GLOBE New Zealand has done. Can I acknowledge the member for his tireless effort to have cross-party work.

Hon Members: Hear, hear!

Hon PAULA BENNETT: —yeah, he does deserve that—and that the National Party, through the work that Scott Simpson is leading for us on this side, has got a number of members and is committed to it. I, as Minister, am interested in an ongoing involvement.

Dr Kennedy Graham: If GLOBE New Zealand were to commission a follow-up study to explore in more depth the “net zero 2050” scenario, would the Government be prepared to seriously consider such an analysis?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I would not be prepared to commit to that right now, but I certainly do not want to rule it out completely, either. We would have to see the terms of what that might be.

Bennett, the deputy Prime Minister, actually spoke at the launch of the Vivid report last month, which Graham posted about:

Vivid’s Report Will Help Parliament Debate the Climate

On Tuesday evening, I hosted the launch in the Beehive Theatrette of a report which could prove to be a game-changer in the long and somewhat agonised saga that is New Zealand’s policy debate on climate.

Present for the launch were the Speaker of the House, the Deputy Prime Minister (who spoke), former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and OCED Environment Director, Hon Simon Upton, among 140 others. Public launches are also being hosted by the Mayor of Christchurch and the Auckland Council.

The report, Net Zero in New Zealand: Scenarios to achieve domestic emissions neutrality in the second half of the century, was produced by Vivid Economics, a London-based consultancy that has internationally-recognised expertise on the subject.

The report was commissioned by GLOBE-NZ, with funding support from foundations, individuals, companies, embassies and individual MPs.

The report identifies four scenarios for achieving emissions neutrality.  One, ‘Off-Track NZ’, would see neutrality achieved well into the 22nd century. As such, it would not meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement which calls for global net emissions to be zero before 2100 in order to limit temperature increase to below 2ᴼC.

Two scenarios, ‘Resourceful NZ’ and ‘Innovative NZ’, meet the requirement of neutrality not long after 2050, through innovative technology resulting in considerable reductions in energy emissions, far-reaching forestry programmes and significant change in land-use patterns.

A fourth scenario, ‘Net Zero 2050’, is envisaged though not explored in analytical detail.  The report states that this scenario is possible, albeit far-reaching and ambitious.

The report is a very good one, as our Executive Committee has said, in an Op-Ed for the NZ Herald on Wednesday. It has been welcomed across the spectrum.

Put simply, this is groundbreaking. The main significance of the Vivid project is that it was conceived and commissioned, and is now owned, by a cross-party group of MPs.  GLOBE-NZ, established in October 2015, now has a membership of 35 MPs drawn from all seven political parties in Parliament.  It is developing a cross-party dialogue on climate policy, receiving briefings from international and local experts.

The breakthrough here is that the group now owns a shared report on emissions reductions that it can debate with greater clarity than ever before.  Parliament has in fact decided to hold a debate in April, focused specifically on the report.  That, too, is unprecedented.