Submissions are due on the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice to Government this Sunday (28 March), so if you haven’t started reading it, time to start.
Here is the Commission’s webpage linking to the advice report, the evidence report (in chapters), the consultation questions, and to how to make a submission itself.
The chapters that include mention of transport are:
- In the advice report itself: chapters 3, 5, 6
- In the evidence report: chapters 4b, 7, 8, 9, 17
It’s great we have the Commission bringing the topic to the public’s attention. Their work will undoubtedly get New Zealand on a better climate planning pathway. Their presentation to the Council’s Environment and Climate Committee meeting in February was excellent. They’ve been effective at getting across the urgency of responding to the emergency.
The commission are genuinely seeking comment and information about their modelling, assumptions and conclusions. In terms of engagement, I’ve been impressed with their level of openness and willingness to listen – to both public opinion and to contestable evidence.
Paul Winton of the 1Point5 Project has undertaken an in-depth analysis of the Commission’s evidence. He has concluded that the emissions pathway Aotearoa needs to take must involve much bigger emissions reductions. Here are some of the contributing factors to this:
The Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) first principle says Aotearoa must adopt actions that contribute to the global effort to limit warming to 1.5°C. This doesn’t mean adopting the average emissions reductions pathway required. The Commission acknowledges “the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” New Zealand is clearly a relatively wealthy, industrialised country and must do better than the global average because we have both the responsibilities and capabilities to do so.
Yet the emissions pathways actually examined by the Commission only involve following the global average.
Also, as Paul advised me:
The Commission has used the IPCC Scenarios for Low or Limited overshoot. This is not consistent with a conservative approach advocated by the CCC as all bar one of these scenarios depends on large scale deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). CCS does not yet exist in an economically and adequately scalable manner and therefore its implied inclusion by the CCC introduces significant risks to reaching 1.5C. The CCC should therefore set targets and budgets well below those implied by IPCC Low of No Overshoot of 1.5C scenarios.
Transport is highly sensitive to the budgets. When the budgets are corrected, transport will be a sector that will need to decarbonise first. The 1Point5 Project’s analysis confirms their initial position that we need to decarbonise transport by 2030.
This has major implications for the advice the commission has given, which has relied heavily on electrification and road pricing for reducing transport emissions. Asking an affluent minority of New Zealanders to buy electric vehicles sounds reasonable, but it cannot scale up to 100%.
Image credit: Jo Rigby, via Giulio Mattioli, via twitter.
Some countries can rely more on electrification. Norway, for example, has a low car ownership rates (51% compared to our 86%), a fleet that is already lower emissions than ours, and they have already invested and transformed to achieve significantly improved safety and modeshift outcomes. We haven’t. Norway will still find it difficult and expensive to achieve decarbonisation via electrification, but it is a luxury they can consider. New Zealand cannot. If all cars were new the cost to the public would be well over $230 billion. The Climate Change Commission believes the minimum cost will drop but it is speculation as to whether the average price paid would be much below this and even if costs could be substantially reduced by drawing on second hand cars, the figure is still extraordinarily high.
New Zealand has a dysfunctional transport system in need of overhaul. We need to change our system for health, safety, access and economic wellbeing. Electrification cannot deliver this transformation; for us, electrification is an important solution for mopping up the remaining emissions reductions still required after systems change.
I used this chart on Saturday’s post, but it’s worthwhile showing again. Todd Litman describes that of the two main decarbonisation options, electrification is not a strategy that delivers all the benefits (which New Zealand so desperately needs):
Electrification must be targeted towards the hardest to electrify vehicle types and the vehicles used for tasks that are hardest to modeshift. We cannot expect the general public to continue to accept an unhealthy, inequitable, expensive and unsafe car dependent transport system, and also lump them with the decarbonisation costs of having to purchase new, even more expensive vehicles, in order to participate.
Pragmatically, EV uptake is a long term game.
Pricing will be useful, but it requires people to have transport choice so they can avoid driving. The Commission needs to advise the Government to press ahead with plans to make our cities suitable for active and public transport modes – they need to be compact, liveable and safe for people walking and cycling. There is no time to wait for the funding provided by the pricing to provide us with safe choices; the earlier we start providing them, the more easily can pricing be implemented equitably.
So why has the Commission’s advice been so focused on EV’s and pricing? As I understand the situation, the sector advised them that only a small %age of emissions could be achieved through modeshift, and the Commission accepted this without modelling different scenarios.
So we need to dig in a little to the unhelpful assumptions held in the sector. Here are some of the issues I’ve discovered when looking at the emissions modelling for Auckland:
I was advised by Auckland Transport:
One scenario modelled included improving public transport so that fare, frequency and access barriers are removed. This scenario didn’t show significant reduction of emissions.
This is at odds with the OECD’s study, Decarbonising Urban Mobility with Land Use and Transport Policy – The Case of Auckland which showed the public transport improvements package could achieve a 40% drop in emissions. True, this drop was over 30 years, not 10, but the modelling was very conservative. It didn’t consider actual customer experience and advanced network design improvements, and – being undertaken before the declaration of the climate emergency – didn’t consider a more radical pathway based on the need to decarbonise transport by 2030. It also didn’t have the benefit of the massive changes in transport planning that have been happening overseas due to Covid.
With widescale bus priority (including bus bollards), Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to reduce traffic congestion (allowing buses to move more freely), a full focus on customer safety and experience, all-day services, many more frequent routes, and with swift changes in land use to encourage modeshift from driving to public transport (eg significant removal of parking to remove some of the bias in preferences) a substantial part of these public transport emissions can in fact be achieved by 2030.
Yet Auckland Transport dismissed simple public transport improvements I suggested to help bring emissions down on the basis that:
the 70% driving modeshare means it is difficult to get public sentiment to change rapidly
In other words, Auckland Transport refrained from modelling the potential technical solutions, believing the public are unwilling to change. That was not the job they were tasked with. Politicians are tasked with achieving the public buy-in, and will need to engage experts at behaviour change, psychology and even marketing. The results of Auckland Transport’s modelling, therefore, are simply a measure of the organisation’s unwillingness to change the status quo.
On modelling the emissions reductions possible from active travel, Auckland Transport said:
the problem with considering walking for emissions reductions is that their contribution to mode share of distance travelled is so small that even doubling the amount that’s walked has negligible effect on emissions
Auckland Transport cannot plan on relying on a larger emissions reduction from walking and cycling improvements than what the model showed
Again, this explains the poor advice given to the Commission. Auckland’s street network is deeply deficient. Once people feel safe walking and cycling, including to the bus or train, many driving trips can be dropped. Auckland Transport are only acknowledging the direct switching from driving to active travel that enabling safe and attractive active travel will allow. But there are other mechanisms they’ve ignored:
- replacing long vehicle journeys to distant activities or retailers with short active journeys to local activities and retailers, and
- replacing long vehicle journeys with public transport journeys because the first and last legs by walking or cycling are now possible.
As the International Transport Forum’s Phil Goodwin says:
A frequent criticism is that the aim of reducing car use by increasing walking and cycling will bear most on shorter trips, with therefore inadequate reductions in mileage. This is where the deeper commitment to ‘taking the targets seriously’ becomes important. Superficial analyses typically assume (though they rarely make this explicit) that the number and distribution of journey lengths stays constant. But entirely orthodox modelling indicates that if all travel is becoming more expensive, there will be more short trips and fewer long ones. What this should mean is that the policy interventions necessary to increase the walking share of trips will also, at the same time, increase the number of journeys to nearby destinations and reduce those to distant destinations, which can have the desired effect of reducing overall mileage more than any reduction in the number of trips – addressing the criticism above.
The Commission should note that walking, cycling and e-biking can contribute to emissions reductions in a considerable way:
Cyclists had 84% lower CO2 emissions from all daily travel than non-cyclists.
Low traffic neighbourhoods are an obvious way forward for New Zealand. In the UK these are being implemented quickly, at scale, and offer significant reductions in emissions and pollution. The cobenefits of decarbonising in this way are massive, including reduced injuries and deaths, a far more pleasant environment, improved equity, reduced car ownership, significant modeshift from driving, reduced vehicle travel both in and around each low traffic neighbourhood, improved public health, and reduced crime. Through good coordination with “first responders” they improve response times. They also require and benefit from good engagement with local people with mobility issues.
And of course, emissions can be reduced by the traffic evaporation that can be achieved through removing traffic lanes and entire highways.
Matt included in Friday’s post an illustration that some in the sector don’t understand traffic evaporation. In fact, Auckland Transport doesn’t even accept induced demand. They told me:
Sprawl roads don’t induce trips. The trips are induced by the new development and population. Roads are just a way to carry those trips.
This significant misunderstanding alone means the Climate Change Commission should ignore Auckland Transport’s advice on how to decarbonise transport.
Finally, land use. The Climate Change Commission advice acknowledges the importance:
we need to ensure a stronger and more deliberate relationship between urban planning, design and transport immediately.
In general, however, they don’t seem to have acknowledged that our growing cities can change their urban form relatively quickly – something I discussed on Saturday’s post.
Here are the wise words from the OECD report into Auckland:
Urban structure has long been known to affect the carbon footprint of a city. The predominance of a low-density residential development pattern, also known as urban sprawl, is statistically associated with a steep increase in per capita GHG emissions from the transport sector… the relationship between density and transport-related energy consumption is highly non-linear: very high fuel consumption is observed in areas of low population density… Moreover, urban development patterns are an integral part of successful public transport systems, namely because these systems are more expensive to provide in low-density areas. Thus, policies that increase population density may reduce the subsidies public transport requires
And I spotted this chart yesterday from a study of 700 cities, that shows urban infill is considered the most important policy for greenhouse gas reduction. I haven’t read the work yet:
This doesn’t surprise me because sprawl affects many aspects of greenhouse gas emissions – not just transport. And, as the OECD study on Auckland found:
An important finding of the analysis is the synergetic effects between targeted densification programs and the transport policy package.
Please find time to read the Climate Change Commission advice and submit. The Commission have done a fantastic job with the limited resources they were given. Our future depends on our helping them to get the details right.
So this is enormously difficult.
Our city transport agency should be offering technical input. Dispassionate, informed; to get the transport system from here to here we’ll need to do this. Straight up. It likely should also add a separate opinion; this will be extremely difficult, or would also require this, or whatever.
What it should not do is fudge the former with the later: We don’t think the technically necessary thing is socially easy, or, we don’t want to have to do the necessary thing cos it’ll be real hard, or it’ll make us unpopular, we like it how it is, or whatever (we can’t imagine change).
Or even worse, which is what they seem to have done, tried to claim that the technical answer is actually different because of these world views. Put their own ideas of society’s willingness to change in modelling assumptions, or edited model outputs because of them (so called ‘calibration’).
Being blunt and straight technically would actually be better for the organisation, it adds a layer of protection from unpopular policy; this is what the evidence says, but it’s your decision politicians, your choice, you weigh the (political, social) costs.
Yes, I’m surprised Auckland Transport have given advice that is compromised by opinions on behaviour change. It appears some simple engineering thinking processes haven’t been applied here. After defining the problem and mapping the relationships, they should separate the essential from the optional. Here, they haven’t, suggesting they don’t comprehend the division between them.
It reflects particularly poorly on their professionalism when combined with the resistance to adopting specific, technical knowledge. The induced demand example is mindblowing.
It is especially staggering when AT has tangible evidence of mode shift from the results of the Northern Busway, the most successful PT project in Auckland’s history.
All the rail network’s improvements over the last 15 years should be proof enough, however the Northern Busway is a stark example, looking at the usage numbers alone, before you even move onto the Harbour Bridge stats. Imagine if this carried over to the NW M’way, Dominion Road, East Auckland, the Upper Harbour and Crosstown from New Lynn/Avondale to Penrose.
How can they claim mode shift is not a major factor when the PT modeshift on the North Shore alone has skyrocketed in the last decade
I’ve long thought Auckland Transport needs to be broken up and have its money removed until they shape up.
But it’s not just them, is it? Are NZTA and MOT not just stuck in the same rut as AT on this subject?
I’m afraid the CCC will feel tied to accepting what all these dinosaurs say.
Wow. Great post. That Goodwin quote is gold.
I tried to compare the UK to New Zealand. UK has road transport emissions of 1.9t/person, NZ 3.3t. The difference (UK is 43% lower) seems to be made up about equally of lower VKT per person and lower emission vehicles. Vehicle occupancy at 1.6 could be a bit higher than NZ too. (I couldn’t separate out heavy vehicles because the MOT data has half of VKT listed under “either heavy or light vehicles”).
In some ways I’m surprised the difference is not even more. The UK has comprehensive bus and train networks and denser cities, and also fuel efficiency standards. Part of the reason is that the fuel efficiency standards haven’t worked as well as they should as they have been gamed by the manufacturers. But still, they have worked a bit, and of course they have the framework in place to decrease emissions per vehicle even more now, whereas we are just starting.
The UK CCC “Balanced Net Zero” model involves transport emissions falling 70% over 2020-2035, whereas the NZ CCC model has falls of 47%. Superficially the strategies look similar though, and I have no idea how reliable the models are.
There are a huge number of developments going on in Auckland. Whole blocks with old houses are being replaced with mainly 2,3 and 5 storey buildings. Apartments within a 10 minute walk of stations will be 6 or more storeys. The intensification is accelerating. House price increases have been one of the drivers of all the progress.
Looks like Mrs mfwic was right about the ‘Structural Issues’. https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2021/03/01/the-harbour-bridge-is-not-falling-down/
It was to soften people up so they could get rid of the Skypath that NZTA didn’t want to build.
Yeah. And what an arrogant s**t:
“You’ll get Skypath when we’re ready.”
Good reply: https://twitter.com/trabaq/status/1373719912087052294?s=21
Can we apply Occam’s Razor here? Instead of “Waka Kotahi are cunningly leaking forged engineering reports to Simon Wilson to get out of building Skypath”, maybe… maybe it was never physically possible to build in the first place, the Skypath campaign’s optimism was as well-meaning and misguided as most of these other “innovative technological solutions”, and the PT/urbanist communist have gone down a dead end trying to promote something physically impossible for most of a decade, and we should take the L and move on?
I’m not sure most of you understand how devastating this is for our movement. People in future will just have to say: “Dominion Road Light Rail? LOL, remember when you dreamers thought you could hang a cycleway off the Harbour Bridge, lolololol”. We need a bit of humility and introspection about how we managed to convince ourselves that because we wanted something, it must have been possible.
Daphne, no one suggested WK were leaking forged documents to Wilson.
The guts of this is that reallocating traffic lanes to bikes doesn’t add weight. The problem was never finding a workable structural solution but WK’s refusal to understand the need for active connections and refusal to accept traffic evaporation works.
Combined, reallocation to bus lanes and cycle lanes while increasing people flow over the bridge reduces traffic volumes in the wider network, reducing congestion and improving safety, health and economic outcomes.
It’s a no brainer but WK’s Highway Baron won’t budge.
The people who’re saying that “WK is using this as an excuse to not build it” are, in fact, literally suggesting that the technical reports are not real/forged.
But this is the issue. You’re seamlessly moving from the Skypath concept to repurposing traffic lanes on the Bridge – as if urbanists weren’t saying for the last 5 or more years things like “SkyPath demonstrated what we knew all along: that it could be done” (https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/nzta-reveals-new-design-for-a-path-across-auckland-harbour-bridge/)
Do you not think that there’s a need for introspection on our side for how we spent most of a decade agitating for something that was not physically possible? In my view this is a massive blunder on our side – we managed to make the Northcote NIMBYs correct about something – that will have knock-on effects for any future proposals for infrastructure improvements. Unless we look at WHY we got it so wrong, why we allowed optimism about a technological solution to lead us to waste so much time and money.
You’ve swallowed the structural engineering conclusion wholescale, when this is coming from the same agency that refused to implement the GPS, and blew out the budget on state highways by HOW much? Anything coming from WK on highways vs cycling must be treated with a grain of salt.
Campaigners have made clear what we want. The agency hasn’t bothered trying to make it work. The structural issues are irrelevant. There’s actually a great design possible that involves narrowing the clip on lanes and adding on a slight extension to the side, too. The barriers put up to these options have not been made in good faith.
If the agency was trying to get cycling across the bridge, and really couldn’t find a structural solution, they would’ve suggested reallocation, because it improves the network. They didn’t suggest anything, because they don’t want to do it. And they’re trying to play their cards right to get a new road tunnel.
Meanwhile, the big issue to be discussing today is the CCC advice. The bridge is just one example of the benefits of reallocating lanes on all Auckland’s motorways and arterials to other modes. It would radically reduce emissions while improving all networks.
What engineering reports are these Daphne? To be fraudulent they would have to actually exist. Have you seen them?
So the argument really is that WK are telling untruths about these engineering issues and they’ve convinced Simon Wilson of those untruths. Just making sure we’re clear about what we’re suggesting.
The argument is that they have never wanted to do this thing but ended up responsible for doing it. They are engaged in a PR exercise to extract themselves from having to do it. It is unclear from Simon Wilson’s column whether there is a structural report saying it can’t be done. The only fact we have is they don’t want to do it and if they can’t cancel it then they will string one delay after another to achieve the same as cancellation.
Didn’t WK launch the Northern Pathway in 2019 – which included this iteration of the Skypath, saying it was about to go out to tender?
If it was, engineering-wise, unrealistic, then how did it get that far? And if that is indeed the case, why aren’t the reports made public to head-off any claims of sabotage?
Its one of the most prominent transport projects in the city – generating as much heat as light. So if something as basic as engineering realities are going to end it, I guess we’ll see that proof very shortly, rather than via leaks to a journalist.
Interesting that Bike Auckland is now demanding exactly what the local residents suggested almost 10 years ago. That the pathway could be the northern clip on lane on the western side, with access at Stafford Road and the great big carpark (by Hacketts) on the city side.
NZTA spent 14 million to acquire 4 of the 6 homes they needed and will now have to offer those back. Meanwhile, each of the residents will have already called their lawyers to start an expensive claim against the transport agency.
Of course no Government will take away a traffic lane on the bridge, they will be too scared of losing votes to angry commuters and so Barb Cuthbert’s prediction of ‘not in my lifetime’ of hordes of cyclists in Queen Street, is about to come true.
Here’s the link for anyone who forks out for premium.
At least it legitimises a pt and active modes seperate bridge.
Pretty dirty from all involved. Either promised when there wasn’t anywhere enough study done. Or killed internally because it would be the wrong kind of transport.
Me thinks we just should get on and build a new car and truck bridge right next to the existing one so we can shut up the constant scaremongering will it won’t it from the media and right wing politicians. Sometimes the only way to get thing done is to give in and give them what the want and in exchange we can have a walking cycling bus only bridge all too ourselves. Presumably Waka Kotahi would have expertise to do that.
And don’t hang out for rail the politics, disruption and the share amount of time that any rail project to the shore would take would be counter productive compared to electrifying the bus fleet. The climate crisis is now we need to do things now not in 10 years from now.
The bridge is a convenient and obvious target for the scaremongering. Building a new road bridge wouldn’t decrease the amount of attention and conversation in this space IMO. The conversation would just move on to the next place where PT / cycling conflict with the interest of cars. Might as well leave the bridge as the focus point.
Do you want to ride your bike over a bridge now or in 15 years. And in 15 years the climate dice will be cast either we have reversed emissions or it will be to late. The cars and trucks won’t go away just because you are hanging out for a perfect solution sometimes a deal must be done. If a new bridge is on the way then maybe a tempory solution for a path can be found.
Royce – a new car bridge is at least 10 years away, even if it were agreed to tomorrow. What is the solution you are thinking of for being able to ride a bike across the harbour now?
One lane for bikes. And surely we can build a new bridge quicker than 10 years.
There’s no way a new bridge could be consented, designed and built in less than 10 years.
Better get on the hotline to Russia, they seem to be able to build parallel bridges with a total length of 19 km (longest bridge in Europe apparently) in just 5 years. Planning began in 2014 and the road bridge was opened in 2018!
Phil Twyford was going to build light rail to Mount Roskill in three years until he gave the project to the transport agency. Plenty people here thought it was doable.
Zippo – I’m not sure a bridge built without consultation of one of the countries it connects to let alone local residents and that many engineers think is at serious risk of collapsing is a great example of quick construction.
NZ’s planning process can be ponderous but I think it is only fair that the public are consulted on any plans and any environmental concerns are dealt with appropriately.
Royce, the light rail to Mt Roskill was already planned and designed when he picked it up (the dropped it). That project started in 2015.
If you search for Skypath you’ll find this post
I like how the first sentence of the first comment calls this
Well I guess if those clip-ons are so weak probably time to get traffic off them? We can have two nice wide skypaths so you can enjoy the view from both sides…
Great post, Heidi. Some compelling arguments. And great comments in response.
Thanks for the heads up about the deadline.
I am wondering whether we are too keyboardish about responses to inaction or inappropriate action from people in power.Past generations got change through fairly direct action,and there are plenty of recent examples where boots on the ground ,forced a rethink,rightly or wrongly,but at least ,their case was heard,a walk/cycle over the bridge anyone
Boots on the ground might be needed for things like stopping Motat’s new unnecessary carpark and getting the soccer club families’s vehicles off the public greenspace along Meola Rd – to highlight how AT’s lack of enforcement has induced more driving and more parking demand.
I was thinking this recently. Perhaps the best way to get some of these changes is to go do it ourselves.
Some things would obviously be much easier than others. For example painting a pedestrian crossing here https://goo.gl/maps/XinMX6iJTfryn4J86 across the side street. I observed it for a bit this weekend and there are far more people walking across that side street than need to drive to turn into it. While we’re at it, put up a no right turn sign and block that entry with some concrete blocks or something.
Could all be done at night, in and out in 5 or 10 minutes. Put up some road cones for while the pain dries. Shouldn’t be hard finding some in Auckland.
Logistics wouldn’t be that challenging, just doing something illegal and not getting caught would the the scary / hard part. I don’t really want a criminal record for something that would objectively make something better for the area.
A higher proportion of electric cars in NZ?
Here’s an idea: Start slapping tariff’s on the import of second-hand Japanese cars (unless they’re EV’s).
Because poor people should carry the cost and rich people shouldn’t? That is regressive and elitist however you look at it.
Good work. This ties in with ATAP having less that 5% funding for walking and cycling.
AT and WK have never valued it. So of course they’ve found a way to show it’s unimportant when it comes to emissions reductions.
Good work Heidi.
Nice OECD report focusing on Auckland’s carbon woes and solutions there.
Hang in there GreaterAuckland and keep that focus hard on the government over these next three months as the recommendations get turned into hard policy targets.
I’d like to see the government move away from calling road charges and fuel excises “taxes” and instead make them a bill. If the government still owned all the power infrastructure we wouldn’t call our power bill a tax, we wouldn’t call it a tax increase if the price went up, we wouldn’t complain that the GST was a “tax on a tax”, we wouldn’t expect a big proportion of our rates to pay for it, and we would expect to pay at least the full cost of running the service and probably some kind of return on investment. But for some very strange reason roads are considered differently.
The biggest change we could make in NZ to CO2 emissions is to make it more expensive to drive. And to do that we don’t need a new tax or anything like that, we just need to make sure that the full cost of building and maintaining roads, as well as some kind of cost for land use, are fully recovered from the user instead of being mostly subsidised by all.
So, umm, do we have a population policy to go with or in this draft?
I haven’t made it through the Climate Commission stuff yet but what I have read scares the bejesus out of me. Some people who don’t know the costs or benefits of reducing carbon in each sector are trying to set carbon budgets for each sector. That will never work. A simple unavoidable carbon tax, that gets incrementally cranked up until we reach our overall carbon goal would work and allow people who can change at little cost, to do so while those who can’t would get to pay the effective cost of what they are doing.
Normally I’d agree* but according to the commission’s modelling results if we follow their policy prescriptions it’s all going to have next to no impact on the economy. The GDP forecasts for their various scenarios are pretty much indistinguishable from the business as usual forecasts. If you trust the modelling …
*(with the rider that the ETS would work just as well as a tax)
When it comes to rail they still don’t get it. Instead of spending money to get freight out of trucks and into diesel trains, which is the single biggest way to lower carbon emissions in transport because diesel trains use 4 to 5 times less diesel than trucks, they want to electrify the railways instead, which represents a much smaller carbon emissions reduction. It wrongly targets trains for emission reductions rather than trucks. Trains are already the lowest emitters.
Sadly, there’s nothing in their advice about changing KiwiRail’s structure into one that actually seeks volume growth with tangible tools to acheive that. The 2010 restructure of KiwiRail into a port supply chain partner with a move away from general freight and competing with trucks remains unchallenged by the current government.
One big missed opportunity.
Yes, it’s important. They’re clearly beholden to the trucking industry.
They need to shift freight to rail and they need to electrify rail. No need for either or.
The problem though Heidi is that the things needed to get KiwiRail back into the non-port freight market are things like heavier axle loads and bigger trains, which will lower the unit price of carting freight so that rates competitive with trucking can be charged.
They also need to reopen all the freight terminals around the network that are closed.
It will cost several billion to achieve these things, but they are not talking about these things. They are only talking about electrifying, which will take all the billions they could possibly make available for rail.
Larger heavier diesel freight trains will lower the nation’s carbon footprint many times over what electrification could achieve, for the given amount of money ever likely to be available.
KiwiRail itself needs a major overhaul and new management. Here in my town a new petfood company wanted to use rail to get their shipping containers to port. KiwiRail said no, as they do to most potential new customers who approach them.
I would like to know why Labour have maintained National’s policy on KiwiRail. Into their fourth year in government they should be making changes by now, including ending KiwiRail’s monopoly on freight cartage. So much more would be on rail if other companies could access the network.
I agree, Geoff. There’s a blind spot which just seems to be a weakness to allowing any real change to the status quo.
“Norway will still find it difficult and expensive to achieve decarbonisation via electrification, but it is a luxury they can consider.”
Norway have achieved significant EV sales by applying huge taxes to petrol cars and no taxes on EVs. Many have said that it is a subsidy for the rich who are the ones who can afford the new EV’s.
What the link above shows is a tax of about 55% on a Golf that makes it about the same price as an eGolf.
Larger cars face higher taxes and the tax on a Chev Comaro is about $115,000.
Despite these very high taxes the current new purchases of EVs is hovering about 60%. It shows us the huge challenge that NZ faces to adopt EVs when our petrol car taxes are so low.
It does seem that an equitable solution would be to start to increase the gst on new car sales. Equitable because if you can afford a new car you can afford to pay more tax; or you delay the purchase until you can. If you want to buy a really expensive car then again you can afford to pay the extra tax.
And a feebate on EVs? I have long argued that now is not the time. There is such a huge disparity between EVs and non EVs that a small reduction in the differential will achieve little. Applying the extra tax to implementing cheap monthly and annual passes though is likely to have a significant impact on ridership. The best documented example is Vienna that has managed to achieve a reduction in car mode share of 15% over 25 years. (It’s worthwhile to remember that AT have probably achieved 0% over that same period.)
I agree with Heidi that NZ s targets are unrealistic and we need to implement plans that can commence change quickly.
Megan Woods must have mentioned ‘Roads’ 20 times during the housing announcement. Expecting mega amounts of sprawl from these new measures.
It’s climate crime. First NZUP then this.
Megan Woods is stealing our children’s future.
Minister Woods is having a shocker at the moment. Almost silently (well certainly with not even a murmur from her) Huntly recently re-started the third turbine at Huntly.
Are Genesis NZ’s most damaging corporate? (What’s their slogan at the moment -“woo you, screw you?”) Maybe Gull runs them close? How does ten of thousands of litres of cheap petrol help a climate crisis?
I note your comments about litigation regarding carbon emissions. I have a different view about litigation, it needs to happen.
How do I reconcile this statement with my role as a mediator? Often it is the prospect of litigation that causes the parties to adopt a compromise position that avoids litigation. It is often Court precedent that governs the subsequent behaviour of parties as they know where the boundaries are.
There are many examples where it is litigation that has substantially moved matters ahead. Perhaps the most recent that I can think of is pay equity where it took an Employment Court decision to really change the landscape.
In my view it may take the view of the Courts to advance climate issues. We will see an intelligent, independent judiciary, unconcerned about their job security, dispassionately evaluate the material.
Interesting post & many of the comments. Will try and make a submission even if at least only a brief one.
I don’t believe that the OECD study on Decarbonising Urban Mobility strongly contradicts the AT conclusion that ‘improving public transport so that fare, frequency and access barriers are removed’ won’t reduce emissions much. The OECD study is interesting but their ‘promote public transport’ package is a bit of a misnomer. The measures in this package doesn’t directly include anything to improve bus priority or anything like that. Rather it includes gasoline taxes and congestion pricing to fund PT subsidies, so the results aren’t directly comparable with the AT analysis.