POW NZ - June Climate Updates Part 1

 

Kia Ora all, 

The days are short and there’s (a small amount of) snow on the mountains. Matariki is next week, we hope you all get outdoors to celebrate the solstice in some way. 

Wow what a month in climate news. This edition is a big one, hang in there as there is a lot of positive news, ways to take action and learning. There's been so much happening around the country and across the world that we're splitting this months edition into two parts. 

Coming up below you'll find news from around NZ about: 

  • The ORC's request for POW's input on public transport
  • Auckland's regional transport plan
  • EV subsidies 
  • The Climate Change Commission's final advice
  • Great news from Cardrona 
  • The Canterbury Floods

Later in the week we'll share heaps of positive climate news from around the world. 

First up. POW lead advocate Marian Krogh spoke to four members of the Otago Regional Council about their 10 year transport plan and presented the results of our public transport survey. Despite acknowledging the rapid growth of Wanaka and Queenstown and increasing congestion they said implementing a public transport system is too expensive. If transport is the number one source of emissions in Otago, and climate change is the number one issue facing the region then it should be a priority to spend money on. BUT they would like to know the results of our survey so before sending them over we’d like to collect some more. Take the survey here, it will be open until the end of the month. All participants go in the draw to win a sweet prize!

Speaking of transport. Transport represents almost half of CO2 emissions in NZ. In Auckland, it’s higher, at 67%. After agriculture with our burping cows, transport is the most important sector to decarbonise. Yet the just published 10-year plan for Auckland predicts a 6% increase in emissions by 2031. Critics have called the plan ‘baffling’ – at odds with the council’s commitment to halve emissions by 2030. To learn more have a listen to this great podcast. To take action read the regional land transport plan and make a submission on Hīkina te Kohupara here. Just a brief personal submission is all that’s needed. Simply ask for more public transport, more affordable public transport and transport that connects regional and urban centres.

And some more on transport. You’ve likely heard that there will be some great subsidies for electric vehicles and some surcharges on petrol vehicles. New and used imported vehicles will be eligible for up to an $8625 rebate! This is great as it encourages more electric and low emissions vehicles into NZ. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a new car that uses a lot of petrol such as a Toyota Hilux (from $30,000) will have a fee attached of $2900. Also great as it discourages high emissions vehicles. Stuff has a great summary here. This policy is not without controversy with many saying the wealthy are having their EV’s subsidised. If you’re an average ski bum buying a $5000 used Subaru, it won’t impact you at all. Infact if you’re buying any car that already exists in NZ it won’t impact you at all. How can we incentivise a transition to low

Remember the Climate Change Commission? 

Well they just released their final advice to the government. There were 15,000 public submissions made on this (many from POW members!), mostly asking for increased ambition. The result has been pretty disappointing. Here’s a quick summary.

Some improvements: 

-20% conversion of grazing land being converted to native forests, up from none in the original draft

- Beefed-up regulation to accelerate the uptake of low emissions vehicles. (but there’s a clear problem with any solution that involves manufacturing new things using fossil fuel (EV’s reduce emissions in the long term but we need short term emissions reductions) 

-Ban on gas hobs in new houses

-Transport infrastructure is a main focus which is great but we need a dramatic push into mode shift - getting people out of private vehicles, getting them into public & active transport. Pricing needs to be affordable but a cultural shift is also required. 

Some regressions: 

- 2 x level of coal use that was in the commission’s draft advice earlier this year

- Intensification of agriculture barely mentioned

- Reduction of biogenic methane of 12% by 2030 (despite the UN saying it needs to be reduced by 40-45%)

- Increased use of biofuels (not much evidence that these are any better than fossil fuels)

- Tangata Whenua mostly excluded 

- Increased exotic forest planting until 2030

For a more comprehensive summary check this article out from Stuff. 

Overall we must act much faster and harder than what this report recommends, as this article from The Spinoff says “kicking the can down the road for future generations has gone on too long”. The government has until the end of the year to respond to the commission's climate roadmap with its own set of carbon reduction plans

More info from RNZ here and the Climate Change Commission here.

Whoop check out this great news from Cardrona! 

We love seeing them lead the industry with their waste reduction initiatives. New this year is no guest-facing rubbish bins. Just compost and recycling. This has lead to further changes in their supply chain such as Cookie time cookies in compostable packaging. Lets see more of this! Cardrona admit that by far the largest contributor to their emissions is from cars driving up and down. They are heading in the right direction with free buses from the base at Cardrona and TC this year and carpark incentives for full vehicles BUT there’s still a lot of work to do here. We will keep nudging them in this direction. See Cardrona’s press release here.

Do your snow dances and watch out for part two of this month's climate updates coming soon with positive news from around the world. 

Ka kite,

POW NZ

PS Help support us by joining as POW member 

Becoming a member of POW NZ is easy! You can deposit your membership directly into our bank account: 03-1905-0160521-000 with your first name and last initial as a reference. Or you can head to our website to pay by credit card. You can join as an individual, couple or family ($20, $40 or $60).

Our awesome partners are offering great discounts to POW members. You'll actually save your $20 membership fee straight away with some purchases :).

As always we'd love to hear your thoughts on how to make POW more effective and help you become a climate advocate. Please get in touch with us any time with suggestions or comments. 

*15% off excludes sale items, hut tickets, paddle and electronic items 

Speaking of transport. Transport represents almost half of CO2 emissions in NZ. In Auckland, it’s higher, at 67%. After agriculture with our burping cows, transport is the most important sector to decarbonise. Yet the just published 10-year plan for Auckland predicts a 6% increase in emissions by 2031. Critics have called the plan ‘baffling’ – at odds with the council’s commitment to halve emissions by 2030. To learn more have a listen to this great podcast. To take action read the regional land transport plan and make a submission on Hīkina te Kohupara here. Just a brief personal submission is all that’s needed. Simply ask for more public transport, more affordable public transport and transport that connects regional and urban centres.

Posted 17 June 2021

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