Silver Pine*

Businesses in New Zealand compete on a playing field that undercharges for pollution and thus disadvantages low-carbon and environmentally-friendly practice. Similarly, business-as-usual mindsets hinder low-carbon and environmentally-friendly transport and land use plans. We need strong climate law to break through to progressive action. Tomorrow, consultation for the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill comes to a close. The legislation is ground-breaking, and could lead New Zealand out of polluting, exploitative practices into a sustainable, low-emissions, circular economy. Submitting with support for the Bill is important; some industries will be trying to resist any curtailment of their activities by submitting against.

Here is Greater Auckland’s draft submission v2. In the submission, we particularly consider the emissions considerations of transport, and urban planning. We will consider anything you write in the comments section for inclusion in the final submission before we send it.

For this post, though, I thought I’d mention a few other aspects. I include links to submissions [edit: this one by Greenpeace is last year’s!] and Auckland Council, a media release from Beef and Lamb NZ, and submission guidelines from The Green Party and Generation Zero. The views of these organisations do not all agree, but give a range of views.

Auckland Council’s submission has surprised me. It is excellent. It has restored my hope that this city can develop sound consultation practice. I don’t agree with everything in their submission, but I can see that it has been written in response to the lengthy process of real engagement that they undertook as part of forming the Council’s own draft Climate Action Framework. Using diverse communications methods, Council was able to solicit opinion, provide platforms for experts to inform, and encourage discussion between residents, without it degenerating into defensive conflict.

Instead of trying to cover the whole bill, I’m going to focus on the weakest parts, which if tidied up, will allow the Bill to bring real change to how we operate:

1 Adaptation.

2 Accountability.

3 Consultation Process.

Shag Nests

1 Adaptation.

The 2002 Act and this 2019 Bill establish policy frameworks for meeting New Zealand’s commitment to reducing its emissions. The 2002 Act considered the commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. The current Bill seeks to meet our commitments to the Paris Agreement.

The Bill establishes a new Climate Change Commission. The task they have of setting emissions budgets, advising, and monitoring progress in emissions reductions is huge. Unfortunately, this Bill also adds the job of advising and monitoring how we adapt to climate change.

Greenpeace expresses concerns around this inclusion of adaptation in the Commission’s scope:

Existing guidance and policy on adaptation is currently insufficient in NZ and needs to be adequately resourced but this does not sit under the remit of the Zero Carbon Bill… Preparing for a severe 3-4​o​ C warming by the end of this century, for example, would be extremely costly and quite likely futile; while investing all efforts, including international diplomatic efforts, in keeping warming within 1.5​o​ C avoids catastrophic impacts and the consequent need for certain adaptations. A strategy for adapting to climate change impacts should be prioritised and well-resourced by central Government. However, this is not the purpose of the Zero Carbon Bill.

Auckland Council also notes the huge work involved with the Commission needing to cover adaptation as well as emission reduction, but they believe adaptation is an important part of the Commission’s work:

We believe that the integrated approach can enable actions that deliver multiple outcomes instead of hindering or undermining progress in either field of mitigation and adaptation.

On balance, I believe Greenpeace has got this issue right. While younger people are striking for action on reducing emissions, there are industries and individuals who are comfortable with doing the minimum possible. Focus on adaptation needs to be kept independent to prevent it becoming the easier path for the Commission to fall back on when they find “emissions reductions” too difficult politically. (Ironically, the behaviour change required to radically reduce emissions is the best adaptation we could devise.)

What does this mean for transport in Auckland, for example? If the Climate Change Commission is solely focused on reducing emissions, AT and Council will need to reduce vehicle km travelled (vkt) for Auckland. And it will need to be reduced more than elsewhere, for equity – Auckland has many more transport options than regional areas do. In reality, Auckland may need to reduced its transport emissions by about 60% by 2030 so the regional areas don’t have to reduce theirs so much. Focusing on reducing vkt rather than just electrifying is paramount, as in the process, the many vkt travelled unwillingly (as chauffeurs, as children having to accompany siblings, as people facing longer-than-desirable commutes, and as reluctant drivers aware of the dangers presented by vehicles) can be reduced. Healthier streets, better safety and more connected communities are co-benefits. This is the chart I’ve put into the submission about different levers available to reduce vkt:

If the Climate Change Commission gets side-tracked onto adaptation instead, they might get more concerned about adaptation needs such as raising roads to avoid deluge from rising sea levels, and much of our transport budget could get spent on that. At the end of the century, our grandchildren won’t be impressed if we raised roads for thrice-a-year floods in the 2020’s if in doing so we’d allowed our emissions to continue to rise. But they’ll be very thankful if we’d established a low carbon transport network by 2030. They’d be able to look back at 70 years of Auckland and see that we hadn’t wasted our money on fuel, cars and carbon abatement costs, so were able to invest in other improvements to the city. They’d also see that New Zealand had been able to take part confidently in international treaties and negotiations, and know that we’d therefore been a part of the movement that had limited warming.

Mangrove trimming

2 Accountability.

The weakest part of the Amendment is in sections 5ZJ and 5ZK:

5ZJ Effect of failure to meet 2050 target and emissions budgets

  1. No remedy or relief is available for failure to meet the 2050 target or an emissions budget, and the 2050 target and emissions budgets are not enforceable in a court of law, except as set out in this section.
  2. If the 2050 target or an emissions budget is not met, a court may make a declaration to that effect, together with an award of costs…

5ZK 2050 target and emissions budget are permissive considerations

  1. A person or body may, if they think fit, take the 2050 target or an emissions budget into account in the exercise or performance of a public function, power, or duty conferred on that person or body by or under law (subject to other requirements that apply by or under law).
  2. However, a failure by any person or body to take the 2050 target, an emissions budget, or guidance issued under section 5ZL into account does not invalidate anything done by that person or body…

The Green Party suggests:

4. Require all politicians and senior public servants to take emissions reduction plans into account when making other decisions…

5. Increase accountability by making point 4) enforceable through Judicial Review…

Generation Zero says:

Section 5ZJ must be removed to allow the court to take other steps. 

Auckland Council says:

Auckland Council has concerns around the ambiguity and limited consequences for failure to reach the 2050 targets and emissions budgets… We propose that if there was an award of costs for failure to meet the target, it must be of an adequate level to act as a financial driver for climate change action. We also request that the bill clarifies to whom the costs would be awarded…

Permissive action, outlined in section 5ZK of the bill, enables organisations and sectors to continue business as usual when urgent action is critical. We would like to see a stronger enforcement ability within the bill to ensure New Zealand transitions to a net zero future.

Greenpeace says:

We must learn from the oversights of the UK Climate Change Act in which vague drafting means there is considerable uncertainty around what the courts could do. In particular, the Zero Carbon Act should clarify the legal implications of the Government failing to (a) achieve an emissions budget; or (b) set policy plans capable of meeting future budgets. We recommend that the Zero Carbon Act is drafted so as to allow the courts to compel compliance.

Currently, in urban planning, attempts to get local government to follow policy are often unsuccessful, and involve huge amounts of time on the part of residents, green business advocates, community groups, academics, local board members, councillors, and officers. It shouldn’t be this way.

If given teeth, this Bill could free these many people from advocacy so they can work more directly on directly developing good climate-ready practices.

Sections 5ZJ and 5ZK must be revised.

3 Consultation

A note about submitting. As Action Station has said in their emails encouraging members to submit:

The more of us that speak out now, the more politicians will know they have the mandate to do more, and sooner. By making a submission you will show politicians there is strong public support for more ambitious targets that are enforceable in the courts.

However, the summary of feedback on the draft bill last year split out results into “long” (full submission) and “short” (ie using the 3-question shortened form available on the Zero Carbon web page). Furthermore it split the “long” submissions into “unique” submissions and those using pro-forma submissions.

I hope this doesn’t indicate a disregard for the burden that consultation places on the public. Whereas industry can afford to pay people to research and write submissions, the public need to do it in their spare time. Some demographics have more time than others to do so. People may submit on one or two aspects that they know about, they may compare submissions from different community organisations and choose the one that matches their beliefs best, or they may follow a templated submission process inserting their own beliefs wherever they differ. Giving less weight to submissions of people with limited time to write their own, long, unique submissions would be undemocratic.

So please, submit, and use whatever prepared submissions you find that represent your views. But please also point out that if the Government chooses to analyse the results, they must treat all submissions as information to consider. Any statistical analysis is irrelevant. The numbers game happens when we vote at the general election.

Pohutukawa*

*Silver Pine and Pohutukawa images are from “The Structure of New Zealand Woods” by Meyland and Butterfield.

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84 comments

  1. Is the Greater Auckland Draft submission link right? You aren’t referencing a previous submission are you? It seems to answer all these questions that were put out before the drafting of the bill. Aren’t we here submitting not on how we might meet our targets but on the bill as drafted? If I am wrong can you direct me to the where these questions you are answering came from.
    cheers

    1. Thanks, Peter. Please accept my full apologies. I had been through the Bill clause by clause. The links to the Auckland Council submission, to the submission guides by The Green Party and Generation Zero and to the media release by Beef and Lamb are all for this year’s amendment. Where I went wrong was with the Greenpeace submission, which is from last year! I borrowed their questions, thinking they would be the questions that would come up once I started the submission process.

      I’ll start rewriting it now. I welcome any further feedback.

  2. To me the best way to get traction on anything is transparency tied to penalty/reward. If this can be through minor or no change to existing framework/processes you are on to a winner.

    With that in mind why not provide tax advantage to triple bottom line tax reporting. This means there would now be a stated cost associated with polluting

    These recorded costs now become known to IRD, and can be used in any related processes. Shareholders and other Stakeholders also now see the cost, and companies can be compared.
    Big business now has an incentive to measure these, and reduce this “cost”, and so will mean innovative ideas get development funding, which once in place then become an option for SMEs to adopt.

    Ultimately like any issue it starts with measuring the problem accurately. Currently I understand this measurement involved high level assumptions and extrapolations. This change would start to unlock more facts.

    1. Can you provide links to further information, Scott? At some stage it’d be good to get my head around those ideas.

      1. Not sure what links you are referring to? The below Wikipedia page outlines the idea of triple bottom line reporting?
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_bottom_line

        Essentially it relates to including the measurement of environmental and societal costs.

        It is sort of like the government announcement of taxing more heavily polluting imported vehicles. This as a result may change the decision made by those purchasing as the cost is now realised.
        At the moment those making the decisions can claim ignorance of the impact, and it could even be argued in some cases are obligated to not consider as are responsible to shareholder, not society.

    1. Ben,
      Yes, looks like a standard template letter from AT.
      Arguably I would have thought this is a new car park, as I understand that the existing car park needs to be demolished. If this is the case then AT needs to operate in terms of its Parking Strategy before they can build a new one. If they have breached this then make a formal complaint. Complain to the Ombudsman as I did around the gasometer car park. It’s a matter of public interest so appears to fall within his ambit.
      I am happy to help you try and engage with them to resolve your concerns – to sit through the meetings where they tell you they are right, because they say they are and for them to write in the same vein. It has been an exercise of endless hours of fun that has made one thing very clear; if there are no penalties for public organisations breaching their policies, (or carbon commitments perhaps) then the whole thing is just one big charade. Maybe when you make your carbon submission start off with this point because I certainly have.

    2. Ben, car parks can be filled with electric and hydrogen cars. Personal enclosed transport isn’t going to go away, it’s just going to go to alternate power sources.

      1. Geoff
        Absolutely right that cars won’t go away. The smart thinking is that there needs to be less of it, so therefore it makes sense to have less car parks.

    3. Ben, this suggests that AT are going to undertake a review of the Parking Strategy this year: https://at.govt.nz/media/1979279/item-87-closed-session-dec-18-pt-opex-funding-update.pdf

      “Utilisation of Parking Pricing to Accelerate Mode Shift… A review of the Parking Strategy is planned to commence in 2019.”

      I obviously read about it somewhere else because I asked back on 17 May: “Could you please tell me about the Review of the AT Parking Strategy? Lester Levy wrote to Phil Goff in October 2018 “A review of the Parking Strategy will be undertaken in the first quarter of 2019.” I would like a copy of any documentation available.” I’ve just had a reply:

      “At this stage AT has revised its plans, as AT does not feel that a complete review of the strategy is currently required. However it has been recommended that a more detailed plan which focuses on the Central City would be of value. At present we do not have a timeline as to when this piece of work will begin.”

      Don’t understand? Don’t care? Crippled by legal team? Who knows? I guess if I ask something they don’t want to answer they’ll agree say that it’s not in the public interest to release it. Yet again.

      1. Heidi
        My view is that much of the Parking Strategy is useful; but only useful if AT applies it. For example our street is over 85% full of cars for almost all of the day and much of the evening. Despite this when I inquire of AT about when they are going to review the issue they simply say, we have no plans (as happened with you – same template?)
        It is good that things are moving slowly in the city. Downtown Building price increases were helpful and evening rates at the Civic have increased. The rate payer is subsidising parking less.
        Who knows, they may even set parking prices to discourage commuter driving (as the Strategy provides) rather than the opposite of setting a flat rate for all day parking.
        SkyCity is now probably one of the most significant contributors to parking generated emissions with their 3000 car parks. It will be very interesting to see what effect the convention centre has on inner city traffic flows. Any chance that there is a traffic management plan?

      2. it’s not as easy as putting up the price of one and two zone trips more to “encourage greater long-distance PT travel that contributes to greater positive impact on congestion” – as always their flow god is preeminent and the consequence of subsidizing sprawl escapes them

  3. Whilst we have our talkfests , our submissions, our hearings, etc, the planet continues to warm and our weather patterns continue to change. Global warming and the resulting climate change doesn’t care damn about talkfests , submissions, hearings, lobbyists, etc, global warming is offering us humans two options – starting adapting or suffer. The longer us humans dither about what to do, the more its going to costs the country to adapt. Last I heard, it was $8 billion and rising.

  4. Two points:
    1) Those who want ‘business as usual’ should be made to pay the full costs of their doing so. They must not be allowed to pass the cost of their activities onto the general community. This amounts to a community subsidy to backsliders, which must not be allowed.
    2) Perhaps as a specific example of this, all on-road parking should be abolished. It must be recognized, and enforced, that a road is a public thoroughfare, not a private car park. Removing all parked vehicles from all roads would increase the capacity of those roads, so reducing the need for extra roads. This would not only save the community money, but also discourage private driving. Private vehicles users should not require the community to give them free parking. If they want to park, they must do so on their own land, not the community’s.

  5. Resistance is futile. The climate has changed and will continue to change. Trying to guilt countries who have no intention of reducing carbon is nothing more than a fools errand. 95% of the spending we do should be on getting our country ready for the effects of climate change. Reducing carbon in one tiny part of the planet by reducing output while some of the big emitters can just step in increase their output is shooting yourself in the foot.
    If we don’t produce the cholesterol the world demands then some other country will and they will produce more emissions doing so. Carbon reductions in New Zealand is mostly about political posturing and virtue signalling. It will make a few people feel they have done their part while the temperature continues to increase.

    1. Miffy, inciteful as always. Perhaps you might go out and get a quote for a sea wall for NZ. Don’t forget to allow for lots of razor wire to keep out the tens of millions of climate refugees (and the Mexicans of course. Don’t include any of that provisioning for Takapuna as they are already here.) Can I recommend the company building in the US – Massive Wrought.

      1. New Zealand’s contribution is going to be zero. We have two choices to get to that point. 1/ Waste time and money cutting a minuscule amount of carbon which when all totalled up will be so small it rounds down to zero or 2/ Spend out money getting ready for the inevitable by building dykes where that makes sense, by raising roads and houses and by retreating from the sea where the other choices cost too much. What ever we choose to spend on we can’t stop sea level rise, that isn’t an option that we have, and telling New Zealanders they actually have that choice is bull shit. Yes, yes if we all work together and all that crap. But that simply isn’t going to happen. Some countries win from climate change, some countries know about climate change and prefer short term wealth, and some countries just can’t be trusted. Any tiny reduction we make will mean some other country will increase by at least that amount so let’s not go down that dead end. Time to get energy self sufficient and get ready for what is coming.

    2. yippee someone else gets it, it doesn’t matter at all what we do in NZ, not one little bit. It’s just another way for the govt to raise taxes. We have just under 4m cars on our roads, there are over 1 billion cars worldwide, NZ could stop using cars tomorrow and it won’t make any difference.

      1. Raising taxes? My hard earned money? Mine? Is that what your complaining is really about?

        Last time I looked, Nationals dumb tax cuts to enhance the wealthiest bank accounts directly translated into far less effective public services which we are suffering the consequences of today in health, housing, transportation, justice, education and the environment and probably more.

        Europe for one is taking Climate change pretty seriously and I can see that translated into reciprocal trading rights. Places like us and Trumps world who dwell in ignorance aren’t exactly welcome but developing anti climate change stratergies would surely be a good thing would it not?

        Do we really want to follow Mike Hoskings and Newstalk ZB’s advice on this subject?

        1. “Europe for one is taking Climate change pretty seriously and I can see that translated into reciprocal trading rights”

          And at a level below government action. In NZ we have seen the two major supermarkets say no to caged eggs. Debate has already occurred in the UK about food miles. It is quite conceivable that overseas supermarkets might make purchasing decisions based on climate change responses.

        2. Yes so the reason to ‘do something’ is for appearances and not because we think it would actually work. I actually agree with that.

        3. We can’t stop the inevitability of climate change, it’s happening regardless, so we should be preparing for it rather than trying to fight it off.

        4. Technically, we can radically reduce the severity of climate change.

          The problem, as you are aware, is political. And the political problem is some people being unwilling to change. Most of them are unwilling to change because they’ve convinced each other behaviour change is impossible. At some stage they’ll have to connect the dots and realise it is this attitude that is the problem.

          Committing their own descendants to misery on the basis of it being inevitable is some kind of weird shit I don’t understand. If you can prevent that misery, why would you not do so? Especially when the scientists say the pathways ahead are radically different depending on what we do now.

      2. All your riches will not be able to buy you out of what nature will have in store for your kids or grand kids. No sea wall defences, or living on a hill will help…you can invest billions and billions across the world to protect from the eventual destruction of our way of life if Climate Change goes unchecked as you would suggest…but least your taxes will be lower for the coming years.

        You don’t even live here!

        1. And all your words are not going to stop it. All your ideas for reducing carbon will have bugger all effect. And even if we could it isn’t going to stop the impact of 200 years of coal and oil burning by the industrialised countries of Europe. so how about we spend on preparing for what is coming rather than squandering our resources on the daft dream that we can change reality.

      3. Master Chief and miffy, the emissions from NZ’s 5 million people matter to the atmosphere just as much as 5m people anywhere so it is wrong to say our emissions don’t matter – every block of 5 million people matter. In fact our block of 5million peoples emissions matter more than most blocks of 5million people as our emissions per capita are so high.

        1. So long as the USA increases their output from their 65 blocks of 5 million people and so long as they are ready to step in and produce and meat and dairy that we don’t, then cutting emissions in NZ will not help the planet one bit. Given their farming systems are energy hungry then our cuts will be more than offset by other country’s increases. So you are just making to make things worse.
          You might genuinely think everyone will cut together and then join hands and sing kumbaya, but it isn’t going to happen. History has shown us every country tries to scam the rest. Whether it was Europe setting 1990 as a base so they could claim dibs on their emissions and never have to make up for the 200 years of damage they did, or Australia exempting mining, or China rushing through as many coal fired power stations as they could, or New Zealand signing up to Kyoto because at the time the government thought trees made us a net winner, everyone is a player. International law is basically one major scam where richer counties screw poorer countries. Best thing we can do is make our own people safer from what is coming.

        2. We can all be cynical, miffy. I wallow in it frequently. But we have a duty to do everything we can. Their are lots of attitudes that led to the last 30 years of inaction, and yours is one of them. Luckily fewer and fewer people find it acceptable.

          It may be that the only thing stopping progress in international agreements is because of people spreading excuses for concentrating on selfish adaptation instead of timely reductions.

          The question is really, when we get enough other people to change their attitudes, will you still be dragging the chain?

        3. If everyone agrees then I am all for it Heidi, but even then there really isn’t any evidence it will work any time soon. The trick with this stuff is to be like Norway, they pump zillions of litres of oil out of the sea and sell to other countries while making everyone believe they actually give a shit. As a result they have the best income and own more assets than everyone else. They can help their poor and disadvantaged and they can afford healthcare for everyone and can even subsidise EV’s. That is what we should aim for.

        4. KLK we are already fairly close already to the Nordic Economic model, there’s nothing wrong with that, we just don’t have enough money to do it properly.

    3. Miffy – I agree with you. Regardless of all the talkfests , submissions, hearings, ETS schemes, etc, the planet will continue to warm and global weather patterns will continue to change. Global warming and the resulting climate change doesn’t care damn about talkfests , submissions, hearings, lobbyists, etc, it is giving us humans two options – starting adapting or suffer. The longer humans dither about what to do, the more its going to costs the country to adapt.

      What NZ needs to do, is start planning for what NZ will be like in 2050. Unfortunately there in not instruction manual on how to do it. The last major natural catastrophe that humans experienced was the last ice age and that nearly wiped out ancestors.

      As an island nation ‘off the beaten’ track, NZ will need to start planning now for the worst case senerio – that NZ becomes isolated from our major trading partners (excluding Australia) due erratic weather patterns causing disruption to medium to long hail international shipping and flying.

      As a country, we would need to become totally self sufficient in the way we live, the food we grow based on ‘farm the land to suit the land and climate principles, what we can manufacture for domestic consumption based on an efficient recycling, be efficient in urban and transport planning, more robust housing, regional and national infrastructure planning and construction, plan for increase population growth that would be generated by climate change refugees, prepared to accept lower standard of living, owning a car for personal use will be a privilege not a right, efficient land based urban regional and national public transport networks and so on.

      We need less talk and more action.

  6. Wouldn’t it have being good if the provincial growth fund had of being spent on measures which would reduce carbon emissions although to be fair some of it has being. Its not as though government money hasn’t being used to change infer structure in the past for example Joyce spent $1500 million on fibre roll out. As far as I know none of this money will be directly recovered. Why couldn’t Govt money be made available to susidise electric transport and help industry to convert coal and gas fired plant to electricty and wood. The whole crap about renewable electricity could be fixed with investment in 500 megawatts of geothermal generation. And unbeknown to farmers land use is rapidly changing so most likely they will canter in to meeting their emissions targets. Instead we get all this ra ra legislation and carbon credits trying to bully the private sector and individuals into changing their behavior by spending their own money.
    And there will be unattended consequences. One I can see is that because of carbon credits no one will be able to sell their timber to be used to fire boilers for industry so we will have to keep on digging up coal or more likely importing it or even natural gas. In fact in my view carbon credits have being a utter disaster and a complete failure from the day they were introduced.

    1. Carbon Credits are not working as they’re supposed to. And without a major rethink they likely never will.

      This Opinion piece in todays Herald from a Federated Farmers member warns of wholesale sell off the land to farm carbon for overseas credit speculators is going on right now. With numerous unintended consequences obvious to even the casual observer.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12249470

      Don’t know how true it all is, but it would not be the first time we’ve had a gold rush created by policy changes without any controls on whats best for NZ. [The Dairy rush being the latest, but not last time a “gold rush” mentality has occured with regard land use].

      Your comment about Investment in Fibre rollout is interesting too. Yes the Government bankrolled it. But the fibre rolled out is ultimately owned by Chorus as the Crown Fibre Co is selling down what interests it has to Chorus. Yes Chorus is not Spark/Telecom. But its not government controlled either.

      So this has been a massive form of corporate welfare masqerading as Government infrastructure investment.

      Kind of like a NZ wide program of Roading PPPs – except we never get to own the roads we paid for. And will be paying tolls for the rest of our days.

      The kinds of trees we need to plant are not fast growing pine trees, we need to plant natives that will take generations to grow. The longer the better. Because its a one way trip – once you plant the trees the carbon in them cannot be released again this century at least.

      Thats the sort of lock-in and lock-out we need to ensure happens with the Zero Carbon bill. Otherwise we will end up binding the hands of the entire country for the next 30-100 years.
      Done properly thats not a bad thing, done poorly its worse than doing nothing.

      1. The environmental and sovereignty consequences of the ‘scheme’ are appalling, aren’t they? I’ve put some stuff about pine plantations into my personal submission. Yes, pine trees ruin the soil underneath, and clearfelling them can remove thousands of years of carbon-rich humus and organic soil in one fell swoop.

        The reason I included the Beef and Lamb media release is that they have a good point about their having reduced their emissions, and that the planting of trees on their properties is not counted in terms of carbon removals.

        The IPCC not recognising the carbon removal mechanism that conversion of a monoculture pasture into a mixed use pasture with pockets of biodiversity, forestry or orchards is a big problem, and I believe NZ needs to negotiate strongly to get that changed. In order to do so, I think they need to run strong mixed use farm experiments with full carbon measurement and accounting.

        1. My son is a shepherd on a station in the Wairoa district they had a block of forestry and it was logged and they are trying to turn it back into pasture. But its a long hard business unless they can mob stock a huge amount of goats they are probably in for a long period of poor pasture growth and weeds.
          One thing I thought of if there are 70 million possums in NZ eating all the forest if we could just get rid of them and the deer, goats and pigs the forest would come back gang buster and sequester carbon big time. Especially with enhanced carbon dioxide and warmer temperature.
          I wonder about planting eucalyptus instead of pine they would grow almost as fast as pine the other thing is they seem to be able to grow close together as well giving long straight trunks. A bit hard to mill though your forever sharpening your gear.
          Popular and willows are other fast growing tree and as their soft they would be excellent for bio fuel. And they don’t have the smothering effect of pine.

        2. Forest and Bird have reported about the damage the pests have been doing. The ecology of the native forests has evolved with deep leaf litter, but when leaf-eating mammals are present, they eat many of the leaves and produce droppings instead. This changes everything for the tree roots, the insects and skinks, the birds, the seedlings. That, combined with lack of flora and fauna biodiversity, the chemicals, the clearings, the direct damage from people and pests, the weed species, etc, is leading to collapse.

          I believe more carbon can be sequestered in a native forest by eradicating the pests and weeds and nursing it back to health than can be sequestered in a new plantation forest.

        3. Doc are trying to eliminate the possums, but everyone and their dog is protesting the use of 1080; trapping and shooting are the alternatives but when there is no bounty, why waste a bullet or spend days checking traps?

        4. MC – possum fur is currently $140/kg, it takes about 18 to get a kg of fur, that’s hardly no bounty.

        5. Pest control will take investment, though.

          I don’t think it’s true that “everyone and their dog is protesting the use of 1080” – In addition to DOC, OSPRI, the Regional Councils, Labour, National, the Greens, 1080 has been accepted by Greenpeace, WWF and Forest & Bird as the lesser evil compared to the pest problem.

          In the last 6 years, I’ve certainly noticed a huge change in position on this issue amongst nature-lovers and environmentalists. It feels to me that there’s a far stronger understanding of how dire the state of our natural ecology is now.

      2. Yeah don’t ever try and use the market as a force for good because the market doesn’t care it will just come up with some unintended consequences.

      3. Greg, the economics of forestry are that if you are taking land out of production for forests then those forests need to earn their way. Pine does, natives don’t (take too long to grow, are more susceptible to damage, harder to manage). As for the carbon component, if natives aren’t being harvested for timber then they die and decompose releasing all of their stored CO2 (negating their carbon benefits). For a native to reach the size of a pine takes around 3x as long (that’s a lot of missing CO2 capture). As for soil, pine does look after the soil. The only negative really is for animals.

        1. The upside of natives being (selectively) logged would be that they are actually worth something once milled and could then be turned into locally made furniture rather than shipped offshore in by the shipload for framing or some other low value item.

        2. This article certainly suggests my understanding of the understorey of pine forests has been limited: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/pine-forest-natives/

          I wonder what the market for pine is going to be long term:
          https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/393934/log-price-collapse-could-impact-jobs-in-new-zealand

          I’ve seen quite a bit of work about the carbon sequestration rates of different forest types that include what’s happening in the soil, and native NZ forests are definitely up there with some of the best. This article is quite interesting on the topic: https://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/resilient/seeing-forest

          “Typically, the carbon content of forests is measured by taking samples of tree girths and heights and extrapolating the data to calculate carbon uptake. “This has historically been used to estimate carbon uptake, but it doesn’t capture the whole story of carbon exchange in the forest,” Niwa scientist Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher says.”

          The problem with quick-rotation clearfelling techniques is the stripping of the soil every 28-30 years, which loses so much soil, carbon and fertility. In Europe, they seem to do much more forestry with higher quality hardwoods selectively felled.

  7. Why the random picture of Mangroves? I certainly hope you aren’t advocating we allow this invasive pest (from Australia btw) to continue to spread and further silt up and choke our harbours and waterways?
    Yes the silt is from development, no it does not need to stay in the harbour- it should be flushed out to sea but instead is trapped by mangroves turning sand (which has its own ecosystem) into a muddy, smelly, mosquito infested mess.

    1. Thanks for noticing the random picture. The others are pretty random too – do you like the structures of the different woods?

      I’m aware of the controversy around mangroves, but no, New Zealand’s one mangrove species is indeed a native. And mangroves are bound to cause concern when they expand in area as ours have done. But the reason they have spread like this is due to our terrible erosion rates from our land use changes. Now they are fulfilling their function of trapping silt and rebuilding the land. What we need to do is stop treating our land so badly, not complain about the new mangrove areas.

      I took the photo in Northland. https://www.nrc.govt.nz/for-schools/school-information-packs/mangroves/

  8. 1) Whatever NZ does in terms of GHG emissions makes no difference globally, except to the extent that we are a good global citizen and our actions may persuade others to act.

    2) The least cost path for NZ to follow is to allow the NZ quota cost to match an international carbon price (or proxy thereof) & for the government to decide which international credits are deemed available to buy (i.e. are real)

    3) The productivity commission has estimated the real cost of carbon will need to reach up to NZD250 per tonne (circa 2018 NZD) to meet zero carbon. This is roughly 10x the current price. The future nominal price (inflation included) may be >250NZD

    4) Transport is simply a derived demand of the spatial land use allocation. Unless we free up the RMA and remove density and zoning restrictions the land use pattern will not change to support PT.

    5) Congestion tolls must also play there part in carbon reduction. We continue to build more and more urban capacity as peak travel is not priced.

      1. That’s a good one. “A volume of 7 cubic miles (11 km^3) of olivine, or around 30 Gigatons, is needed each year. This is less than half the volume of construction materials and less than that of fossil fuel equivalents mined yearly.” Thanks, Robert. I needed a giggle. 🙂 I’m sure those tropical beach communities would love it.

        I wonder what they did to overcome the barriers found in this research?: http://www.innovationconcepts.eu/res/literatuurGPV/2009hangxspiersolivine.pdf

        I’m sure it won’t be the last techno wonder we’ll hear though.

    1. Kiwi Overseas the emissions from NZ’s 5 million people matter to the atmosphere just as much as 5m people anywhere so it is wrong to say our emissions don’t matter – every block of 5 million people matter. In fact our block of 5million peoples emissions matter more than most blocks of 5million people as our emissions per capita are so high.

  9. If the government can’t buy a lower emitting fleet who will. Long way to go.

    Government agency fleet CO2 emissions falling
    July 15, 2019

    Press Release – Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment

    The first update of the Fleet Emissions Dashboard shows average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for each government agencys fleet of light vehicles have decreased between April and July this year.
    The first update of the Fleet Emissions Dashboard shows average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for each government agency’s fleet of light vehicles have decreased between April and July this year.

    The dashboard is a tool to help government agencies transition their light vehicle fleets to lower carbon emission alternatives.

    Average CO2 emissions in the government’s fleet have dropped from 168.76 grams per kilometre driven in April to 168.44g/km in July. By comparison, new vehicles sold in New Zealand in 2018 have an average emissions rating of 180g/km.

    “The dashboard has been in place for only three months, and the incremental decrease is a step in the right direction,” General Manager, New Zealand Government Procurement and Property John Ivil said.

    “Additionally, we now have 400 fewer government vehicles on the road, which means agencies are seeking to better utilise existing fleets and considering whether replacement vehicles are necessary.”

    “When agencies look to renew their fleet, emissions are now at the forefront of their decisions, and we are starting to see agencies considering alternative solutions such as ride-sharing.”

    The initiative is part of the broader outcomes work programme, which prioritises areas where the government’s annual procurement spend can help achieve broader social, economic and environmental outcomes.

    When agencies come to purchase replacement vehicles from the All-of-Government Motor Vehicles contract they must immediately target the purchase of vehicles with CO2 emission profiles at least 20 per cent below their agency’s current fleet average.

    “We built the emissions dashboard in line with the Government’s target of the fleet being virtually emissions free by 2025/26” said John Ivil.

    The next update will be published in October 2019.

    The updated dashboard can be found on the Government Procurement website.

  10. 60% by 2030 means 6% per year.
    Fuel taxes need to be introduced to achieve the reduction at the same rate.
    Other projects need to be implemented such that they are completed at the same rate, e.g. the cycle to school schemes.
    This intention needs to be flagged to the public now, then the governing bodies need to implement, with KPIs linked to staff bonuses/salary.

  11. or something like this?

    “France will introduce a new charge on plane tickets from next year, with revenue used to fund environment-friendly alternatives, the country’s transport minister has said.

    The “ecotax” costing between €1.50 (NZ$2.50) and €18 euros (NZ$30.50) will apply to most flights departing in France, Elisabeth Borne said.”

    If Minister Twyford is struggling to fund high speed trains here is a good start.

  12. The reality is that people will not give up their cars, industry will not give up delivering goods by trucks and life will go on.
    There are already ways to significantly reduce carbon emissions. For ground transport these are EV’s where the powergen is from renewables (Hydro/wind etc), liquid renewable fuels (Bio diesel and ethanol up to 10% drop in fuel) and Renewable Diesel (100% drop in fuel).
    There is now commercially available renewable Jet fuel as well, with a permitted drop in of up to 50%. These, when made from waste and residue can make significant CO2 reductions.
    Other measures that will form the solution is carbon capture (a filter on exhaust gasses) that gets recycled back into usable hydrocarbons. Green Hydrogen is another way we will fuel our movements in the near future.
    Talk of reducing car parks to force people onto bikes is a silly suggestion. It is not workable as it just is not what the public will accept. We need to and will, science our way out of this.

    1. ‘It is not workable as it just is not what the public will accept. We need to and will, science our way out of this.’

      By public you mean you, right?

      1. Daniel, you say “The reality is that people will not give up their cars”. but believe it or not but Holland used to be very car centric, its not now. What they did is they made it easier to not use you car, They made using your car a silly thing to do – the more direct way was on a bike or public transport, there were no parking hassles, no stress driving yourself, no worries about whether your car would get dinged or keyed. We just need to do the same – allow more people to live close in to town centres and transport nodes, give more shortcuts for bikes and create long cuts for cars, price on-road parking wherever people are parking their for a whole day. And we need to make public transport more attractive than car commuting – look at the outrageous success of the the Northern busway – when people car commuting see people whizzing past on the bus while they are left steaming in traffic, the people on the bus reading the morning paper, chatting to their fellow passengers or catching up with the news and social media on their devices, people in Auckland have kept out of their cars.

  13. Global car sales data suggests you are very wrong. Even the Nederlands (quoted above) had a YoY increase of new car sales last year of 7%, which was consistent with the previous YoY of 8% growth. Interestingly, Tesla sales were down in last years stats. (Data from Statistica).
    Walking and Cycling will play a part in CO2 reduction, but it will be a very small part. Apart from the fact that humans are mostly lazy (see fat epidemic), we do not have the time to travel everywhere by bike.
    Improved public transport is a must for fighting climate change, but saying that we should make it harder to use cars and trucks is silly. It is like the people screaming to give up flying – that isn’t going to happen either.
    I gave you the answers that are available to us now. There are a lot of companies working on other science based solutions as well, so the future is not as bleak as its painted to be.
    Science, not ideology please.

    1. Car sales data are completely meaningless unless they are compared against the number of cars taken out of circulation, either scrapped or sold to other countries.

      VKT for the Netherlands would be the most relevant information.

    2. I hope you can see that: “We need to and will, science our way out of this” is an expression of faith, Daniel. Science is a way of observing, exploring and understanding phenomena. Expressing your belief that it will serve us in our time of need, is similar to expressing a belief that a god or a king will serve us in our time of need. It’s particularly blinkered thinking, given that species are going extinct and people are already dying from climate change and the ecological disasters caused by exploitation. For them, the world hasn’t ‘scienced its way’ out of the problem.

      As Tim Minchin says, you need to be a bit harder on your own beliefs. Calling for science, not ideology, is a good goal. I recommend you do so.

      1. Well the science is there, it just needs more investment. So it’s not belief or ideology, it’s the solution.
        As for removing cars to reduce CO2 emissions, the following may surprise you.
        An average flight per person creates 0.1 tonnes, a large petrol or diesel car creates 6.0 tonnes a year. Pet food for an average dog is 2.2 tonnes and the impact of one child per parent per year is 58.6 tonnes of CO2. (Garfors).
        If you are serious about fighting climate change, get rid of your dogs and have less children as both are clearly more selfish than driving an SUV.

        1. Those are behaviour changes, and you’re right that behaviour change is what’s required.

          Of course the science is there already. Of course wise investment will support us to live less destructively.

          What you’re resisting is one particular behaviour change – reducing driving. Not because the science doesn’t support behaviour change being effective, but because you don’t like that one.

        2. With due respect – you don’t know if I like driving or not.
          Car emissions can and will be solved with a mixture of EV, Hydrogen, liquid renewables and cleaner fossil fuel. These are forced changes through clean fuel mandates and taxes, already working in many overseas countries but sadly not in NZ.

        3. I didn’t say you did, Daniel. You don’t like that particular behaviour change as a solution for the problems we face.

          You’re happy to suggest other behaviour changes for people to make, but defend them against having to take that one. So it’s not “behaviour change” that is your issue, but that particular one.

    3. In the 80’s they told us there was going to be a nuclear winter, but it never happened. Clearly now the globe is warming what we need is a few nuclear explosions, not a full winter but more of a nuclear autumn. There must be some sort of model we could build to work out how big the bombs should be and how often they show go off to balance out the two. Maybe I could retrain as a nuclear-climatologist.

      1. Ah but Miffy you have a vested interest in climate change. Your retirement plan of off to a villa in Newtown is surely dependant on Wellington getting a warmer climate in the meantime.

      2. I think the nuclear climatology sector would love you to join them, miffy. I hope you become a cartoonist, too, and put some of the funniest work conversations you have into cartoon for us all to enjoy.

        1. The nuclear winter you see as our climate change salvation was not caused by the nuclear explosions themselves, but by the smoke from the the massive urban fires ignited the nuclear explosions. Using nuclear explosions to do this is undesirable: we don’t want to add radioactive fallout to the mess we are already in. We could achieve the same smoke generation effect without the radiation component: just torch the requisite number of cities.
          Which cities do you propose to torch to achieve this end? Your own? Or just other peoples’?

    4. Daniel as Heidi says – the relevant thing is how often people use their cars for daily commutes, for shopping, going to the movies.
      Here http://internationalcomparisons.org/environment/transportation.html
      it says Netherlands had 6000km per capita (per year presumably) – more than Japan but a little bit less than most of Europe. New Zealand here Stats NZ says averages 10,000km per capita. https://www.transport.govt.nz/mot-resources/transport-dashboard/2-road-transport/rd086-vehicle-kilometres-travelled-by-region-billion-km/rd015-vehicle-kilometres-travelled-by-all-vehicles-billion-km-and-per-capita-km/
      Perhaps the Dutch do a lot of car travel in the weekends and holidays? I have read that Amsterdam (or Holland?) is voted as one of the best places to drive even though driving into cities is made difficult.

      1. The Dutch travel a lot in weekends and holidays. They seem to have two caravans for every household.
        Most people ride awful bikes (they are heavy and useless so no one steals them) around the cities or use the PT, but in the weekend they go to Germany, Belgium and lots of other places that are not too far away.
        They love their cars, like most people and next year they are having the F1 back.

    1. True. It’s one bird I hadn’t sought the te reo name for because ‘shag’ has a soft spot in my family’s conscience. Which doesn’t come from its alternative meaning but from the very cute way a 1-year-old family member would pronounce the word. However, kawau is lovely…

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