This is a guest post by Paul Callister and Wallace Rae.

As Auckland transitions from an ‘overgrown town’ to a ‘world-class city’, it faces many challenges. These aren’t just related to liveability concerns from our sprawling land use and high car dependency. They also include our reliance on aviation, which creates a significant and growing part of New Zealand’s transport related greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Robert McLachlan

A world-class city responds to the climate crisis with leadership. With our C40 membership, Auckland is required to have a plan to deliver its contribution towards the goal of constraining global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees C.

For businesses to invest in low-carbon technologies and processes, predictable regulation change is required. Similarly, as we are encouraged to make lifestyle changes, policy needs to be clearly equitable. How do we establish coherent strategies around who, if anyone, should pay less than the full cost of their greenhouse gas emissions? For aviation to be a positive part of our economy and our climate response, we need to understand the trends, impacts and opportunities in the industry and how to mitigate impacts.

The introduction to the recently published New Zealand Tourism Strategy summary states

International visitor arrivals have grown by 43 percent in the last five years

This increase in tourism growth is projected to continue. International visitor arrivals in the September 2019 year were 3.9 million, and are forecast to reach more than five million by 2024; Auckland airport is currently planning for 40 million passengers per year to pass through their facility by 2040, up from 21 million passenger movements in the August 2019 year.

As the largest city in New Zealand, with the airport that brings in and sends out by far the most passengers, what happens in Auckland will be key to decarbonising New Zealand aviation.

Other New Zealand sectors, including farming and urban public transport, are being put on notice to begin a programme of greenhouse gas reductions. So how do we realistically decarbonise the aviation industry?

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005. It requested Parties to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to reduce emissions from the sector. Despite this “request”, ICAO shows that emissions have risen.

At the moment there is a heavy reliance on efficiency gains and offsets.  Domestic aviation is part of the Emissions Trading Scheme but the far bigger emitter, international flying, is not. The current solution to international emissions rests heavily on CORSIA. This is a UN agreement designed to help the aviation industry make all growth in international flights after 2020 “carbon neutral”. Until non fossil based fuels become widely available, it is primarily an offset scheme. It also only covers growth, not baseline levels of emissions.

While the New Zealand government and Air New Zealand support the implementation of CORSIA, not all countries do and not all airlines flying in and out of New Zealand will participate. Importantly, CORSIA’s rules only applies if the countries at both ends of a flight are members. CORSIA will first be implemented as a voluntary system from 2021–2026 and will be mandatory from 2027–2035, when it will apply to all ICAO member countries, with the exception of some developing countries and small markets. CORSIA also excludes emissions of other climate pollutants from aviation, including black carbon and nitrogen oxides.

Source: August 2019 cabinet paper, https://www.transport.govt.nz/about/governance/cabinet-papers

Currently hardly any airline passengers voluntarily pay for offsets and, for a variety of reasons, offsets are often ineffective. Forest based offsets require estimates of aircraft emissions, estimates of carbon uptake by forests (which vary by species and geographic location) and a carbon price based on robust evidence of costs associated with carbon use. The forests have to be permanent yet there is a risk that fire or disease may destroy them.

Source: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/graph/16842/carbon-sinks (accessed 10 November 2019)

The energy involved in aviation is large, meaning there’s a practical limit to offsetting. A paper by Smith and Rodger (2009) calculated the forest offsets which would be required for visitors to New Zealand in 2005. They based their calculations on regenerating native forest with a relatively low carbon uptake rather than newly planted forest which can have much higher carbon absorption rates. When considering these estimates, any calculations for recent years would have to be much higher, given the growth in tourism, but could also be lowered somewhat if it was new pine plantations being considered.

In order to offset the 2005 visitor emissions, 26,300km2 of regenerating forest would be required. This is the size of 15 Stewart Islands, or 10% of the country’s total land area.

Already there is concern being expressed about the amount of land being converted to forests, especially pines, for offsets in New Zealand. As argued by the New Zealand Parliamentary Commission for the Environment, offsetting carbon produced from fossil fuels is not an effective decarbonisation strategy. There is a worry that urban people will be dumping their decarbonisation problems onto rural New Zealand.

Source: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/16776/radiata-pine-plantation (accessed 10 November 2019)

The price of carbon is also crucial. The Productivity Commission says the price may need to be $NZ250/tonne of CO2e by 2050 for New Zealand to reach our climate goals. Quoting Concept Consulting (2017), the commission estimates that an emissions price of $NZ100 per tonne could reduce domestic air travel demand by up to 12%. Yet the offset prices voluntarily added to tickets or as part of the CORSIA scheme are nowhere near this level.

The August CORSIA cabinet discussion paper has an example of flying between the UK and China. The offset is seen as being between US$3 and US$9 per person (this is about NZ$5 to $14 per per person). At a similar level to this, the voluntary carbon offsetting that Air NZ’s offsetting programme offers for this flight would be $13.50.

However, using the Resurgence CO2 Calculator (a calculator often recommended) this 10 hour flight emits 1.92 tonnes CO2e per passenger. At the carbon prices discussed by the Productivity Commission, this would add $192 (at $100/tonne) or $480 (at $250/tonne) for the flight.

New Zealand’s domestic aviation emissions have been kept relatively stable since 1990 due to technological improvements in aircraft. But historically the efficiency gains have always been swamped by expansion of international markets. The NZ Cabinet paper discussing CORSIA makes the point that ‘projected annual improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency of around 1 to 2 percent are surpassed by forecast traffic growth of around 5 percent each year.’

International energy expert Michael Liebreich recently visited Auckland. He was reported in the Spinoff, 13th July 2019 as saying

New Zealand should be pushing much harder on finding ways to do aviation more sustainably. Without the ability to fly in and out, New Zealand’s got a problem. It’s an existentially important thing and I’m not seeing the level of urgency and creativity around solutions. Is it biofuels? Is it synthetic fuels? Is it the electrification of your domestic aviation? Is it electrification of your ferries? Given the geographic location of New Zealand, I expected  to see much more concern if you’re trying to be net zero by 2050.

Wallace Rae and I have delved into the international literature to try and find how aviation might be decarbonised. It is clearly a major challenge. Our findings are set out in a working paper published by Victoria University’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies. We hope that this will help generate some of the debate, and ultimately action, Michael Liebreich suggests is urgently needed.

The working paper drew on ideas first presented on the Pure Advantage  website.

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90 comments

  1. Aviation seems like a particularly challenging industry to reduce emissions from. I think this means we need to make extra deep cuts elsewhere and kinda hope new technology comes along.

    1. I have friends donating much volunteer time and effort to carbon minimisation projects. It’s inequitable if some people are working hard for minimal improvements, others are responsibly making huge changes to their lifestyles, while the city itself is planning infrastructure around an aviation blowout.

      We try to analyse everything else. I think we need to discuss this in each planning decision.

    2. It is difficult but there are options and being difficult doesn’t mean it should be made someone else’s problem.

      One option is to simply reduce air travel. This doesn’t mean not flying at all but looking at which trips are most important to each individual and which ones could be eliminated or combined into one trip.

      1. Interestingly, the trips for business haven’t risen. The trips for recreation have. There seems to be huge potential for getting our domestic tourism for NZers right and keeping that tourism spend in the country. Quality resorts with warm facilities in gorgeous places… If other countries did the same it seems to be win-win for each country and the world. With the only losers being the airlines.

        1. Yes! Many places in NZ are becoming increasingly unaffordable for Kiwis to fly to and then stay out. I have never been to Queenstown and at this rate, never will. We need to decide whether we’re comfortable with forcing Kiwis to travel overseas to get the sort of experience they can’t afford in their own back yard.

        2. And once you have seen all you want to see in NZ what next? Why should kiwis be limited to domestic holidays which is what you are implying. Get out see that world it’s what we do.

        3. BW – I agree Queenstown is expensive but it isn’t any more expensive than staying in other resort towns around the work or the downtown area of most cities.

          If it is too expensive then there are many other spectacular but less popular areas of the South Island that wont cost nearly as much.

        4. Jezza – I can pay for a whole holiday at a Central North Island resort- getting there, staying at a reasonable family-orientated fourish stars spot, food and drink – for what the flights to the South Island will cost me. Yes, there are less popular places than Queenstown. But it’s cheaper for me to go to Surfer’s Paradise instead.

          I’m suggesting the cost of touristing domestically may be a contributor to why so many Kiwis end up taking holidays overseas instead of locally – not that they should be held at passport control at gunpoint for daring to leave the country.

        5. @ “Mike”:
          So you’re actually moaning about restrictions on being able to go on overseas holidays, something which is a complete and utter luxury, in the interests of curbing something which will end all life on earth?

        6. BW – agree it is cheaper to holiday in the North Island. There are some great spots that I’m not sure how many people from Auckland have ever been to like the East Cape and Lake Waikaremoana amongst many others.

          You’re right that the Gold Coast is cheaper than Queenstown, they target different markets, However, it’s a bit of a myth that travel to the South Island is more expensive than Australia in general.

          If you want a city bigger than Auckland, or a warm beach in winter, or buildings older than 200 years then you have to go overseas. No one is suggesting banning this but it should be priced to reflect the carbon emissions involved.

        7. Daniel it really doesn’t matter what we do in NZ since aviation is exploding in China, India, Africa, middle class people in these areas now have money to travel, they are taking to the air in ever increasing numbers. It’s not going to stop. So whatever we do in NZ isn’t going to make any difference at all. We could ban flying to from and inside NZ and nothing will change.

          I’m quite pragmatic about climate change, it’s happening, we contributed to it and that’s about as far as my interest goes. I’ll be long dead by the time (if it ever happens) the earth won’t be suitable for human life.

        8. Not quite sure why you’ve changed the subject there Mike.

          But I can only assume you never had children or grandchildren with your unconcerned irresponsible a-hole attitude.

          P.S. It won’t be exclusively human life that it will render earth unsuitable for. For example: The oceans will acidify before we die-out.

      2. A Pigouvian carbon tax is the answer. The number of people flying will decrease and those who still travel will have to pay the full cost of their choice.

        1. Miffy, I also agree with you. I do fly a little, but I think it’s fair that I pay the true cost of it. (In the same way that if I drive I should pay the full costs of this.) It seems sensible that any taxes collected from the former should go back to reducing emissions from tourism such as developing inter city rail

  2. Long term planning is not in NZ’s DNA and this has been seen by the various short term quick fix planning solutions since the 1960’s. Auckland is the classic case of this especially in its urban and transporting planning.

    The planet is warming every day and there is no instruction manual on how to manage or cope with planet warming and its erratic weather patterns through unpredictable storms and air turbulence. The last major climatic change in human evolution was the last ice age and that nearly wiped out the human race.

    Our tourism industry is dirty low financial yield that operates on a ‘cram them in’ corporate greed business model on a national infrastructure that had grown to cater for 1 to 2 million tourists per year not 4 million as present. To upgrade our national tourism infrastructure to sustainable environmental friendly tourism that offers quality tourism products and services, the cost is would be in the range of $1-2 billion to cater up to 2 millions but no more than 3 million tourists per year on an income of approximately $6-8 billion per year.

    Planet warming is going to effect inbound tourism due to unpredictable storms and air turbulence especially on medium to ultra long haul haul international flights, which will affect our tourism industry, especially Auckland airport.

    NZ needs to start thinking outside the square, remove the economic growth tinted sun glasses and start some serious planning to adopt to a warming planet through sustainable environmental friendly economic, business, agriculture/horticultural, population, energy, urban, transport, biosecurity, welfare and defence planning. To adapt to a warming planet is not cheap nor easy as it will impact on how we work, play, travel, the food we eat and how we live.

    1. You have no clue what cram them in tourism is if you think that’s how the industry operates in NZ. Go to the big cities in Europe, London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, you’ll see cramming in tourists in all its glory. It’s even worse in the summer beach resorts where a hundred million package tourists flock every summer.

      1. That’s certainly not the direction we want to go. I’m not even sure why people want to go to such places.

        We can aim much higher, and use tourism to generate income and to provide financial support for locally-desired development in a way that benefits our people, our local environment and that fits within the natural limits of our planet.

        1. Completely agree we should be at the very top end of the market, but to get there we need to improve our customer service standards. There’s nothing more off-putting for high spending tourists then surely service personal. Kiwis don’t do service very well.

        2. “Completely agree we should be at the very top end of the market”
          Why would many of the “top end of the market” ever want to come to New Zealand for?
          Those sorts of people like things like staying in chateaus & luxury hotels, access to sports cars, top-line luxury clothing & jewellery, 5-star restaurants, historical vineyards, supermodels, luxury spas etc.

          What does NZ mostly offer visitors? ’70s motels, 15-20-year-old rental cars/vans, backpackers hostels, picnic benches, crappy weatherboard house air b-n-b’s…

      2. Mike – Queenstown already has reached tourism capacity and the locals have a game called ‘spot the local’.

        Despite Queenstown reaching capacity, tourism operators, the local tourism regional office (Destination Queenstown) and Tourism New Zealand still want to cram more people into Queenstown and surrounding region plus building a new airport to so airline can fly in larger single aisle aircraft like the A321 and B737 Max 9/B737 Max 10

        Wanaka starting to reach capacity, Tekapo is expansion mode and the list goes on.

        If major destinations like Queenstown have to grow, then you need the infrastructure to go with it and that creates the environment and visual pollution destroying the unique scenic experience the tourist wants to see.

  3. I’m really glad we published this post to get the discussion going – and if you find it interesting, I strongly recommend checking out the links to Paul and Wallace’s other articles.

    I’m the first to admit I have mixed feelings about all this. I love travelling, and wish I could do more of it. I love seeing tourists in Auckland and around NZ enjoying our beautiful country. And some of the consulting work I do revolves around tourism.

    And yet I know that in a year where I make it overseas, that flight is probably going to lead to more emissions than all the driving I do in a year. I calculated at https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2015/01/12/international-air-travel-and-emissions/ that a holiday in South Africa was 4 tonnes of emissions, vs 1.2 tonnes for my driving. And if anything, that is a low estimate of the flight emissions.

    So we need to give this serious thought, we need to talk about it, and we need to consider how (and whether) international flights will fit into our lifestyles and our economy in the future.

    1. The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/jul/19/carbon-calculator-how-taking-one-flight-emits-as-much-as-many-people-do-in-a-year) makes a similar point to my one. Interesting article, and surprising that the UK airline industry body group (“Aviation has to earn the right to expand and that’s why we’re committed to halving our emissions by 2050”) has way more progressive soundbites than the UN agency responsible for aviation (“meaningless cherry-picking of unrelated data points”).

    2. If you don’t buy that seat someone else will, so it makes no difference in the end what you decide to do or not do, because that plane will be flying regardless.

      1. I didn’t know that. So if nobody traveled they would have to run empty jets all across the planet. It must be the only business where demand doesn’t have an impact on supply.

        1. Nick, your comment is unhelpful and untrue.
          The group that is most able to effect change is our parliamentarians and largely in that group those with the most senior roles are not boomers. In respect of climate change, the leader of the opposition shows as little leadership as your average lemming. The government also has achieved little. Some point to the implementation of the Zero Carbon Act, to which I say, in which year was the Crimes Act most successful in reducing crime? But it is worse than this with the area that government can directly control, that is departments and ministries, apparently receiving no direction from the State Services Commission to reduce emissions.

          Have boomers done enough – hell no. Sadly this fight is largely driven by the sub 20’s for which they deserve enormous credit and support. It is unhelpful to nominate just the boomers to do more.

  4. Sorry, but planting more trees will not make much difference to the climate crisis.
    What needs to happen is that cuts need to be made to the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere and the first graph shows is that for NZ: this means getting more automobiles off of the roads.

    As for long haul flights; I don’t know what can be done beyond someone (in an industrialised nation) developing some sort of magnetic induction railgun to propel aircraft off of the ground. Because dirigibles just aren’t safe. Governments should definitely stop subsidizing all airline travel though.

    1. Planet warming and its associated erratic and unpredictable weather patterns will have an impact on short to ultra long haul passenger air travel reducing the number of people traveling by air which have a major impact on NZ tourism industry.

      Would you be happy traveling on a medium haul flight that is subject to 2-3 bouts of server air turbulence?

      1. Oh I agree.
        They skies may very well no longer be safe for regular aircraft (as we knot it) to fly in for a lot of the time.

  5. We’re in a ‘climate emergency’ apparently.

    That requires immediate action.

    Q. How many climate change believers are going to cancel their overseas trips?

    A. None.

    1. “How many climate change believers”

      “Believers”?!
      Wot? Like believing: Germ theory? Evolution? Heliocentric theory? Electromagnetic theory?
      There’s no belief here, it’s accepting scientific fact.

      Yes, that’s right; immediate action is required. What do you think people are pushing for?

    2. It’s not climate change believers that have to cancel their overseas trips, it’s the people that drive 20,000km a year that do.

      I can fly to Australia six times a year and emit less carbon than the average car commuter.

        1. What are you saying Vance?
          That if you accept climate change; you forfeit any right to take any overseas trips?

          That’s very petty & small-minded and not the sort of attitude an adult should cop, don’t you think?

        2. Neither me or my children drive 20,000km a year, or fly six times a year for that matter.

          Maybe you need to get your own house in order before worrying about mine?

        3. I’m saying that if you believe there’s an emergency it requires immediate action. That’s the definition of ’emergency’.
          Planting a tree is not going to suffice.

        4. I took action years ago, downsized the house so we could live near the train, went down to one car, me and the wife stopped driving to work and let the kids walk to school. We also stopped flying around the world on holidays, but to be honest that has more to do with the kids than anything else!

        5. It would be nice if answered by question Vance.

          And you still use this term “believe”. Given that climate change is supported by a mountain of evidence (which is why it is fact), you can’t “believe” in it. If anything, the belief would be denial of it.

          But hey we’re trying to take immediate action. Not very easy when that action has obstacles in its way (like people who are confused about “belief”).

      1. The average car commuter is using their vehicle to earn a living, support households and pay taxes which are used to somewhat mitigate their existence from an environmental point of view. Sounds like pretty good value compared with 12 trips across the Tasman.

        1. What about people who have to fly as part of their job? A lot of flights are business trips.
          Besides; a lot of people could cycle or use public transport to commute to work, can grow some of their own food (in those yards they insist on having but don’t use, etc.

        2. A lot of people *could* but a lot of people can’t. And I don’t think the people who take 12 trips across the Tasman a year for work are the kind of people who otherwise live on communes and live extremely low carbon lifestyles to the point where they’d be on an even footing with someone who takes zero international flights a year. Besides, as Heidi states, it’s recreational travel that is increasing, not business trips.

        3. Buttwizard – You are correct with your comment that it is about recreational travel that is increasing, not business trips

    3. Vance, plenty of people have stopped flying.

      One of my local board members didn’t fly for 19 years.

      My clock is running at 6 years since I flew, and that was the first time in 3 years.

      1. One should learn to stop responding to Vance as he has made clear his “belief” in a fact.

        There is no point in trying to convice him that people are making or at least trying to make changes, because he will resort to contrivance as a “gotcha”

        1. We were told Tuvalu was going to be under water before long – a ‘fact’ apparently. Now we find out it’s not.

        2. Hmmm deja vu, I’ll bite. This was my reply the last time you brought up Tuvalu

          “Tuvalu land mass increased 2.9% over 40 years.
          This does not equate to habitable or agriculturally productive land.
          Climate change effects are not exclusive to sea level rise.
          I encourage you to not get your news from headlines alone.”

          Once again, I encourage you to educate yourself.

        3. So “Vance”:
          You deliberately misinterpret one cherry-picked report as a basis to deny climate change.

          Was there a rite-of-passage into adulthood that you missed out on or something?

        4. Hahaha you know that people are running from losing the debate when thy desperately clutch for anything to describe as “personal abuse” like Vance does.
          Hahaha pitiful.

        5. Are people still arguing with climate change deniers? It’s nearly 2020 guys, time to stop feeding the trolls.

        6. @ Joe:
          It all seems a bit surreal how people are desperately looking for anything to deny climate change when the South Island is seeing extreme deluges that are resulting in large scale landslides. And during the summer month of December.

        7. Daniel – to clarify the big storms in the South Island tend to happen most frequently in spring and summer as that is when the air is warmest , thus can hold more moisture and least stable.

          The South Island doesn’t get the winter rain peak that the top of the North Island gets.

          However, you are correct it is completely absurd that people continue to deny climate change while these storms happen. The March storm on the West Coast was the perfect example, it was unprecedented rain for autumn on the Coast.

      2. Is that because they believe there is an emergency or for other reasons?

        I need to go up to Greenlane.

        I’ll probably take the train. Not because I believe there is an emergency. Rather it is to avoid the aggro of driving on the Southern Motorway.

      3. And once you have seen all you want to see in NZ what next? Why should kiwis be limited to domestic holidays which is what you are implying. Get out see that world it’s what we do.

        1. “Get out see that world it’s what we do.”
          Erm… …not really. That’s just a myth. Kiwis aren’t generally well-traveled at all.
          Not hard to see why (isolation).

      4. can you back that up with facts or is just people you know?

        You last sentence is confusing, you have flown for 6 years and that was the first time in 3 years? So when was the last time you flew?

        My job requires travel, it I didn’t want to travel I’d need a new job. I don’t want a new job.

    4. You ask who, Vance? Me. I’ve ditched my car, and I’m not travelling this year, when I would very much prefer to. Only because I care about climate change.

  6. Climate change apart from the obvious conservation or everybody just consuming less approach everything else I read or see leads me back to two things. The first being better land management and the second is a need for large quantity of renewable power. Even if bio or synthetic fuels are used to replace fossil fuels in aviation or transport in general there will still be a requirement for large quantities of hopefully green hydrogen to refine and enhance them. One thing which seems absent from the debate is that it is possible to produce hydrogen from wood in a similar way to how it is produced from coal. Its a bit messy so lets leave that aside for now. However all other alternatives require electricity whether it is to charge batteries or produce hydrogen for fuel cells or hydrogen to help in the production of bio fuels or synthetic fuels. So our Govt goal of having 100 renewable power seems right on the money no matter what the final solution turns out to be. Even if there is no solution and the world has to adapt at least we can say we tried.

  7. People call me a weirdo when I say this, but: I think we should move back to dirigibles for air freight and air passenger travel which isn’t time sensitive. A modern airship could do Auckland-Sydney in about 12 hours, and could be solar-powered or run on other forms of renewable energy.

    1. Nice dream.

      But unfortunately dirigibles aren’t very safe. Their large surface area makes them highly susceptible to air currents.
      I invite you to research into that bad safety record. USS Akron is a good place to start.

    2. How many containers could you fit in an airship? At the moment the largest container vessels visiting NZ fit 9000 20 ft containers, the largest container vessels fit 20,000 20 ft containers, an airship couldn’t match the efficiency of sea freight.

    3. The world will run out of helium at some point and we can’t make any more of it, at least not without nuclear fussion. In the meantime it is wasted in kids balloons.

      1. Why use helium, Miffy? Hydrogen is significantly lower in density and has a better bang for the buck. If we are looking to lower FF consumption it would also serve to put off all but those who are really keen to travel.

        1. Well put, it does have more bang for the buck. The really shameful thing is that the USA kept helium and wouldn’t export it as it was considered to have strategic value for their military. So the German airship program had to use hydrogen instead. “Oh the humanity!”

        2. By 1937 dirigibles were on borrowed time as an option for long-range flights anyway due to advances in regular passenger aircraft and flying boats.
          Lufthansa GmbH, DZR GmbH’s rival, flew a non-stop flight between Berlin and NYC in an aircraft called the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 in 1938. Hermann Goering ordered the Zeppelin’s scrapped and DZR to be disbanded because they just couldn’t compete with that.

  8. There’s a lot of either/ or comment so far. The reason for comparing international and domestic flights with land transport is to see the relative scale of each. Action needs to be taken on all. The differences are about the need or benefit of each trip and the action most fitting and effective. NZ is the last stop from anywhere before Antarctica. Air flight tourism to NZ should be advertised as “Come and see the End of the World (and help to cause it).”
    The main cure for international flight effects is “don’t “. Icarus may still be relevant.

  9. Thanks for the post, Paul and Wallace.

    “For aviation to be a positive part of our economy and our climate response, we need to understand the trends, impacts and opportunities in the industry and how to mitigate impacts.”

    Yes, it seems to me that the costs of aviation and the infrastructure it needs is escaping analysis. Why should we be planning around it so much just because Air NZ says how much it’s intending to increase its passenger numbers?

    1. I agree with you. We need to separate out passenger aviation from freight aviation. Air freight is more important to NZ’s economy than passenger services, as freight can work around disruptive erratic storms and unpredictable air turbulence where passenger flights can’t.

  10. Great article Paul. The relative tax advantage of jet fuel means more investment gets channeled into aviation and tourism, which becomes such a large part of the economy that it is difficult to take on. However, there are some things that can be done immediately that could be politically acceptable. NZ Tourism could concentrate its advertising on countries that are closer than Europe. We could increase departure charges and make them somewhat linked to the length of the flight – the UK has already done this. Longer term we could tax jet fuel as the EU is now attempting to do. It’s not going to affect demand all that much but you have to start somewhere.

    1. Erratic and disruptive storms and unpredictable air turbulence will dedicate the passenger air travel. If there is more media coverage about flights being delayed by storms and mid flight air turbulence, that we put off of flying especially on medium to ultra long haul flights.

      I do agree that the current NZeta needs to be increase to NZ$100 per person 18 years and over to help to pay to to upgrade our national tourism infrastructure to sustainable and environmental friendly.

  11. For as Long as the CEO of Greenpeace commutes to work by flying, it is going to be a hard sell to get anyone to reduce their carbon footprint from aviation.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2666479/amp/Greenpeace-chief-commutes-plane-Executive-flies-250-miles-Luxembourg-Amsterdam-despite-organisations-anti-air-travel-campaign.html
    There are ways to offset your personal CO2 emissions from flying. Many airlines are offering this service via their websites. Some are better than others, but all are better than nothing.
    NZ needs aviation. We need the money tourism brings to the economy and as an exporter, we need fast access to markets for perishables.
    Travel is also beneficial to society. It creates learning and understanding between cultures and should be encouraged. Even Greta Thunberg flew her sailing crew trans Atlantic.
    We need to address the climate emergency, but at the same time we need to be realistic about the world we live in.
    Science has proven we can fly on renewable fuels and as more money is invested into R&D on those, the issues around aviation and global warming will be solved.
    Air New Zealand went to the Government with a proposal to turn NZ wood waste into synthetic jet fuel. The Government was not interesting in investment.

    1. Some good ol’ user pays would go a long way, I guess.

      “There are ways to offset your personal CO2 emissions from flying. Many airlines are offering this service via their websites.”

      The article addresses this. For a flight which Air NZ offers $13.50 voluntary offsets, the actual offsets should be: “at the carbon prices discussed by the Productivity Commission… $192 (at $100/tonne) or $480 (at $250/tonne) for the flight.”

      At that higher carbon price, a return flight to Europe should be offset by $2200. I’m pretty sure that if people were actually paying their way like this, fewer people would be having 3-week trips to Europe.

      The voluntary offsets are possibly worse than nothing because they give an entirely false sense of security that the impact of the flying has been covered, which it most clearly has not.

      Of course NZ needs aviation. But this article is asking us to think about how much aviation, how to plan for it, and how to pay for it.

    2. Daniel, your comment is in the here and now idealism but the cold reality is, the planet is warming every daily and is going to have a major impact on our inbound/out bound trade whether its tourism, food/timber exports, etc.

      NZ as an island nation is off the beaten track in regards to major shipping aviation routes needs to start planing for the worst case scenarios, that our sea trade and passenger aviation will be disrupt by erratic and unpredictable weather patterns, as most of our global exports/imports are reliant of short to long haul sea and and air routes.

      The point is, planet warming will have a major impact of global trade and economics which will have an impact of NZ economy.

    3. First Union are so concerned about climate change that a lot of their members have decided to go on strike.

      This has resulted in a lot of commuters having to drive their fossil fuel burning cars to work.

      So much for the so-called ‘climate emergency’.

      Seems like a ‘wages emergency’ takes precedence over a ‘climate emergency’.

      1. Perhaps try to see it in the framework of entirely predictable social and economic upheaval that comes with constant exploitation of environment and people. We’ll be seeing more.

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