Thursday, November 7, 2019

New Zealand zero carbon Bill shows bipartisan leadership

Historic moment for New Zealand as the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern calls near unanimous support for a Zero Carbon bill as acting on the biggest challenge of our time.

"I continue to stand by the statement that #ClimateChange is the biggest challenge of our time and for us here in Aotearoa New Zealand that means for this generation, this is our nuclear [free] moment."

The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will help ensure a safe planet for our kids and grandkids, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said in a media release.

“This is a historic piece of legislation and is the centrepiece for meaningful climate change action in New Zealand”, James Shaw said.

“Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive Governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.

Initiatives include:
  • Strengthening Emissions Trading Scheme and inclusion of agriculture in emissions pricing by 2025
  • Planting one billion trees by 2028
  • Stopped issuing any new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.
  • Investing in green hydrogen, biofuels with the goal of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2035.
  • Proposals to make electric and cleaner cars more affordable.
  • Record investments in public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure.
  • Establishment of a $100m Green Investment Fund

New Zealand has set a zero net emissions by 2050 target, but also a zero energy emissions target of 2035. This should be easy to achieve with substantial geothermal and wind power already in their grid.

Near term and long term targets are also set for tackling agricultural methane emissions. These emissions are substaintial in New Zealand, given that agicultural production of food is a major generator of export income.

From 2020 New Zealand will also be producing renewable Hydrogen. One again New Zealand leads Australia in a formative area. Australia has so many potential renewable energy that could make us a leader in the hydrogen economy.

Establishment of the Green Investment Fund highlights the importance that government capital can play in mobilising private finance for new and innovative transition projects. Here in Australia we have the example of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which has been highly successful in it's investment role.

New Zealdnd stopped new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration in April 2018, yet in May 2018 the Victorian Andrews Labor Government released five new oil and gas exploration blocks. The state Government has still not come to terms with the climate emergency that we need to stop all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction.

But the news isn't all positive from New Zealand:

Now if only Australia could look to the opportunities of a zero carbon transition and be a leader at the Federal level...

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