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Our commitment to action on climate change

Hon David Parker

6/10/2006
Our commitment to action on climate change

Climate Change minister David Parker today reinforced the need for New Zealand-wide action on climate change during a keynote speech in Wellington outlining the government's strategic direction on the issue.

"Climate change is widely recognised as a serious global problem. There is a growing sense of urgency among governments and citizens that action needs to be taken now.

"As a biologically based economy and trading nation, New Zealand's national interests are threatened by climate change. The Ministry of Economic Development's recently released "Energy Outlook" projects that 'business as usual' will lead to a 30 per cent increase in New Zealand's energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the next 25 years.

"Given the imperative for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the likelihood that, in future, emissions will carry an economic cost to the country, it is vital that New Zealand alters its growing emissions path.

"With that in mind we have been announcing initiatives across the whole of government, which will help New Zealanders respond to climate change."

These include:

* An adaptation programme to prepare for the impacts of climate change, especially in our coastal areas, and in the farming sector
* Measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings
* Consultation on a minimum biofuels sales obligation
* A commitment to increase the uptake of solar water heating
* Options to create links with the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate
* The launch of the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative

"The government expects to announce further proposals in coming weeks. They will include options to improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet, and ways in which government agencies can lead the way in sustainable practices.

"The government is also considering measures to discourage deforestation and encourage forest planting, and ways in which the agricultural sector can contribute to a climate change response, given it contributes around half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions."

David Parker said a combination of sectoral and economy-wide measures, including voluntary, price-based and regulatory measures, is likely to be needed in the long-term.

"The government is conscious of the need to prepare for a world where the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is reflected in every economy.

"Applying this principle broadly across the economy is likely to form a basis for policy post 2012."


More information

See attached documents:
o "Principles for action on climate change"
o "Government initiatives with climate change benefits"

See the government's Climate Change website, here: www.climatechange.govt.nz

A related opinion article (with more links) by David Parker is here

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Principles for action on climate change

Climate change is widely recognised as a serious global problem. The overwhelming majority of world leaders, scientists and commentators accept the need for the world to dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The Government accepts that climate change is real and happening now.

The debate on climate change has moved beyond discussion of whether it is happening, to what must be done to reduce emissions and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.
Protecting New Zealand's future

New Zealand’s economy, environment and way of life are perhaps uniquely vulnerable among developed nations to the impacts of climate change. Our valuable agriculture, forestry and tourism sectors depend on a stable climate, and many of our rarest and most iconic flora and fauna are at risk from a changing climate. Our infrastructure, buildings and communities are also vulnerable to costly extremes in weather.

It is in New Zealand’s best interests that global action is taken on climate change. We must play our part in tackling climate change and encourage others, especially countries with high emissions, to do likewise. We remain committed to our international obligations and to continuing to influence the shape of future international action on climate change to New Zealand's environmental and economic benefit.

As a trading nation, New Zealand needs to be prepared to be on the same footing as our international trading partners. The international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions means in practice that increases in New Zealand's emissions are likely to cause an economic cost to our country. We should minimise that cost by reducing our emissions.

Our challenge is to create a future that allows us to grow our economy, while sustaining our environment and minimising impacts on the climate. We need to avoid making choices that will make us uncompetitive in future, strand major investment or create trade distortions in the longer term. We also want to send clear signals that encourage sound investment decisions in low-emissions technology and practices as soon as possible.
Taking action makes good sense

If no action is taken, New Zealand's energy-related greenhouse gas emissions are projected to increase by 30% over the next 25 years, including a 45% increase in transport emissions. It is not in New Zealand's interests to allow our emissions to grow unchecked in this way.

Measures to reduce emissions makes good environmental and economic sense. Using resources more efficiently, conserving energy and avoiding wasteful practices creates a more efficient and competitive economy, and supports the Government's economic transformation agenda to improve New Zealand's international competitiveness.

Actions to reduce emissions also bring a number of wider benefits. Using energy more efficiently means we pay less for electricity, gas and petrol. Tuning our cars improves our air quality and health. Better insulation of our homes means they are warmer and we get sick less often. Planting trees stops erosion and improves water quality. By preparing for the future impacts of climate change, we are helping our communities become more resilient to hazards caused by extreme weather today.

These are all sensible actions that we might do anyway, to save money, improve our quality of life and ensure that the unique environment we enjoy as New Zealanders is protected for future generations.

New Zealand is not alone in taking steps to reduce its growing emissions. One hundred and sixty three other nations have also committed to action by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Others, including the United States and Australia, have signed up to action under the Asia Pacific Partnership agreement. Individual US states, such as California, the world’s tenth largest economy, have committed to making significant emissions reductions. The mayors of 295 American cities have committed to cutting emissions in line with Kyoto targets. The Australian states are exploring introducing a price for carbon into their economies through an emissions trading regime. Europe is already operating a cap-and-trade regime for its largest emitters.
Guiding principles

The Government is making good progress in developing and deploying meaningful climate change policies across all major sectors of the economy.

In developing its policies, the Government has agreed a number of guiding principles. These are that climate change policies will:


* Be long-term and strategic

* Balance durable efforts to reduce emissions with preparations for the impacts of a more variable climate;

* Engage with the wider public, industry and business to inspire their willing, effective and long-term involvement; and

* Focus on international engagement that advances New Zealand’s national interest.

Strategic direction

In addition, the Government has agreed a strategic direction for its climate change policies:


* Faced with sufficient consensus on climate change science, responsible government must act to address the risks for New Zealand’s vulnerable environment, economy and way of life. While action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the long term will have a moderate cost, the predicted costs and risks of inaction are expected to be unacceptably high.

* Effective international action is needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. To support and encourage international action, New Zealand needs to play its part in reducing emissions as well as encouraging other countries, especially the major emitters, to act.

* New Zealand’s response should maximise the economic advantages of using energy and resources more efficiently. New and newly economic technologies will play a crucial role. Policy should facilitate New Zealand involvement in the development or adaptation of low-emissions technologies relevant to our needs.

* Our policy response should start with the most achievable options and seek least-cost solutions. A combination of sectoral and economy-wide measures, including voluntary, price-based and regulatory measures, is likely to be needed. Short-term measures must not be inconsistent with likely long-term solutions and should at the very least curb increases in emissions.

* All sectors of the economy should play an equitable part in the national response to climate change, reflecting the fact that some sectors will be able to achieve emissions reductions more easily than others. An important policy consideration is the competitiveness of sectors in which there are no low-emissions technologies available at moderate cost.

* Policy should maximise the wider benefits of climate change action in relation to economic transformation, improved sustainable land and water management, enhanced public health, reduced energy wastage, enhanced energy security, improved air quality and the conservation of bio-diversity.

* Any response to climate change must include policies to help New Zealand adapt effectively to the impacts of climate change.

* The pace and stringency of New Zealand’s response needs to align with our national interests – and in particular it should be in step with what major emitters (including our major trading partners) are doing. This is in line with the long-term position taken by other developed countries. Acknowledging this reality is important to build consensus among key sectors for a durable domestic climate change response.

Long term (post 2012) policies

A number of broad assumptions underpin the development of New Zealand's long-term (post-2012) climate change policies:


* While there is uncertainty about the nature of future international climate change obligations, it is reasonable to expect that in the future there will be increased international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and this will, either directly or indirectly, impose an associated but moderate economic cost.

* As the world’s major industrialised economies move toward a low-carbon future, countries can apply price-based measures to support least-cost mitigation and lessen the risk of investment decisions that lock assets into emissions-intensive production which could harm international competitiveness in the longer term.

* In the design of New Zealand’s climate change policy, it will be important to recognise the international context of actions taken in New Zealand, including the need for the world’s major emitters to take effective action.

* The government expects that, over time, a mix of sectoral and economy-wide measures, including price-based, regulatory and voluntary measures, will be needed to achieve the integration of New Zealand’s climate change and other sustainable development objectives.

* In the longer term, a broad price-based measure such as emissions trading (e.g. cap-and-trade or baseline-and-credit) could potentially be applied across major emitting and sequestering sectors of the New Zealand economy.

* Depending on the future international framework for climate change policy, a price-based measure with international linkages could allow New Zealanders to access least-cost emissions-reduction opportunities in other countries.

* Although no decisions have been made, the government has a positive view on the use of economically efficient price-based measures applied broadly across key sectors of the economy in the longer term (i.e., post-2012), provided such measures are consistent with New Zealand’s economic and sustainable development interests and the longer-term international climate change policy framework.

* A level of uncertainty in developing New Zealand's climate change policies arises from the present uncertainty about the shape of future international agreements on climate change. To the extent of these uncertainties, it will be desirable to build flexibility into long-term policies so that they can adapt to changing conditions, and/or allow for conditionality in if and when, or how stringently, any particular policy measure might be applied. Against this, clearer specification of policies now provides greater certainty for investment and business planning and better guidance for the development of transitional measures.

* Shorter-term measures developed under the sectoral work programmes should not preclude the implementation of broad price-based measures in the longer term.

The way forward

Our unique environment is highly valued by Kiwis and visitors alike. We trade on our reputation as a 'clean and green' country that exports high-quality goods and services to almost all global markets.

This Government is committed to finding creative and resourceful solutions to ensure that New Zealanders continue to enjoy an excellent quality of life while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Many of the measures we are considering as part of our climate change response will make our economy more efficient, deliver a range of wider benefits and help us compete on the world stage.

I believe that the principles and assumptions outlined above will ensure the Government's climate change policies make a real contribution to tackling climate change. Early action to reduce our emissions can only enhance New Zealand’s valuable reputation abroad and help protect the New Zealand economy, environment and way of life for our children and our children's children.

I urge each and every one of you to get involved as the Government consults on climate change policies over the coming months. It is important to all of us that we take meaningful action on climate change.

Hon David Parker

Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

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Government initiatives with climate change benefits
Energy


* The New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES)
The NZES is to set a long-term goal to move towards a secure, low-carbon energy system to ensure New Zealand’s enduring competitive advantage. The Strategy will help us to better manage New Zealand's future energy demands by creating policy that encourages the use of our renewable energy resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions (from fossil fuel generation) and improves our energy efficiency. An action plan supporting the Strategy will look at options to meet demand for non-transport energy services through renewable new generation investments until clean fossil fuel technologies are practical. Actions to manage transport energy demand and enhance security include: increasing the diversity of transport fuels, improving the efficiency of the vehicle fleet and encouraging more energy-efficient transport choices.

* The National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NEECS)
The NEECS promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy conservation. A replacement Strategy is currently being prepared as a subset of the New Zealand Energy Strategy. It is expected that the replacement Strategy will place stronger emphasis on improved energy efficiency and renewable energy as means to address climate change.

* The Emprove programme, including the energy intensive business (EIB) programme
The Emprove programme helps reduce emissions by working directly with large energy-using businesses to help them identify ways to better manage their energy use. Services provided under the Emprove programme include management tools, resources and training. Some assistance is provided to meet the costs of carrying out energy audits. Cash grants are available under the energy intensive business (EIB) programme for demonstration projects of energy efficient technologies in target sectors.

* Consideration of a National Policy Statement under the RMA for electricity generation
A National Policy Statement on electricity generation is currently under consideration. If developed, it is expected that this will reduce emissions by providing policy and guidance for renewable energy generation projects such as wind, geothermal and hydro.

* Contribution of Line Companies to Local Generation
The Government released a discussion document earlier this year entitled "Facilitating investment in electricity generation by lines companies" to consider, among other things, whether rules should be relaxed to stimulate investment by generators and retailers in locally generated energy (including renewable energy). Other than the gains from greater investment in renewable energy, localised generation also reduces emissions as there is lower energy loss during the transmission of electricity.

* Proposed regulations for distributed generation
Proposed regulations for the connection of distributed generation will help the reduction of emissions by ensuring that renewable electricity generation technologies do not face unnecessary barriers in connecting to electricity lines.

Housing and Buildings


* Building Code review
The Building Code review will reduce emissions by ensuring that our buildings are designed, constructed and used in ways that promote energy conservation and efficiency in water heating, space conditioning, heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.

* Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS)
The Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) programme reduces emissions by ensuring products such as fridges/freezers, hot water cylinders, and air conditioners comply with specific standards for energy efficiency.

* Energy Star - energy efficiency rating labels
Energy Rating Labels reduce emissions by enabling consumers to make energy-wise choices when buying new appliances by making it easy to compare the energy consumption of different models.

* EnergyWise home grants scheme
The EnergyWise home grants scheme reduces emissions by funding improvements for low-income households and households affected by respiratory illness to install ceiling and underfloor insulation and draught-proofing in pre-1977 homes. Energywise grants may also fund other energy-saving measures such as underfloor moisture barriers, insulating hot water cylinders, pipe lagging, fluorescent lighting and low-flow shower heads.

* Home Energy Ratings Scheme
The Home Energy Rating Scheme (HERS) is an energy rating tool under development that encourages emissions reduction by informing property owners, prospective buyers and tenants aware of the energy performance of their houses.

* Solar water heating programme
The solar water heating programme reduces emissions by promoting the uptake of solar water heating, which in turn reduces the demand for electricity and gas through the use of a renewable resource. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is leading the Government's solar water heating programme and has published a discussion document which looks at the barriers to greater use of solar water heating and options for overcoming these barriers.

* Govt3 programme - Procurement of office consumable and equipment, waste minimisation and recycling, transport and buildings
The Govt3 programme is a programme for core central agencies, departments and Ministries. It helps achieve office management cost improvements while maximising energy efficiency and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

* Warm Homes programme
The aim of this programme is to reduce the amount of air pollution and fine particles produced by domestic solid fuel burners and open fires (which are the primary ways that most of our homes are heated). The programme reduces emissions by promoting more energy-efficient alternative heating sources thereby achieving lower emissions per unit of heat.

* New Zealand Housing Strategy
The New Zealand Housing Strategy will help reduce emissions by promoting energy efficient houses that are healthier homes. In addition to the health benefits, energy efficient homes have a reduced environmental impact and lower heating costs.

* Urban Design Protocol
The Urban Design Protocol aims to make our towns and cities more successful by using quality urban design principles. These principles include the greater use of low-emissions public transport which reduces emissions.

* Smart build resource
The smart build resource reduces emissions by providing us with a framework that promotes sustainability and energy efficiency when designing and building housing.

* Improving the energy efficiency of New Zealand homes and commercial buildings
The Government has announced a new package of work aimed at improving the energy efficiency and reducing the carbon intensity of New Zealand homes and commercial buildings. The work programme will reduce the amount of energy required to heat new homes, to heat water in new and existing homes, and to light, heat, ventilate and air condition commercial buildings. The work programme consists of four initiatives:
o Higher thermal insulation performance requirements for new homes
o Making it easier to install solar water heating systems
o Improving lighting in commercial buildings
o Improving heating, ventilation and air systems in commercial buildings
A public discussion document is planned for November 2006. Government decisions on the proposed measures will be made by April 2007.

Transport initiatives


* Biofuels Sales Obligation
Biofuels are made from renewable biological sources. As the use of biofuels replaces fossil fuels, our emissions are reduced and the diversity of our fuel supply is increased. A discussion document has been released to seek public views on a sales obligation for biofuels that would require a minimum percentage of biofuels in New Zealand's liquid transport fuels.

* Measures to support the Biofuel Sales Obligation
Legislation and regulatory changes will be required to support a biofuels sales obligation. For biofuels quality, it is proposed that the New Zealand Biodiesel Standard NZS 7500:2005 and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority's voluntary standard on bioethanol be the basis for development of fuel quality specifications for biodiesel and bioethanol. It is also proposed that penalties for non-compliance with fuel quality standards be extended to include biofuels and that the Petroleum Product Specification Regulations and the Petroleum Fuels Monitoring Levy are extended and renamed to include biofuels.

* Fuelsaver website
The Fuelsaver website makes up-to-date information available to drivers about the fuel efficiency of vehicles. It reduces emissions by encouraging people to consider fuel consumption when buying a vehicle.

* Vehicle fuel consumer information initiative
The Ministry of Transport is leading the Vehicle Fuel Consumption Information project. This programme reduces emissions by making information available on the fuel consumption of new and used vehicles to encourage people to buy more fuel-efficient cars. It will also measure the fuel consumption of the New Zealand vehicle fleet.

* Travel behaviour change programmes
Land Transport New Zealand coordinates a number of 'travel behaviour change' programmes which reduce emissions by encouraging people to change their travel behaviour, thereby reducing the need for some car travel. Walking school buses, Walk to School Week, school travel plans and workplace travel plans are all examples of travel behaviour change programmes that are being developed in and by communities all over New Zealand.

* Walking School Bus programme (including Walk to School Week) (PDF 1.3 MB)
The Walking School Bus programme reduces emissions by promoting a fun, safe and energy-efficient way for children to walk to school, thereby reducing the number of short car trips. 22,000 children participated in the first “Walk to School Week” campaign of 6-10 March 2006.

* Auckland School Travel Plan programme
The Auckland School Travel Plan programme reduces emissions by promoting a collective action plan endorsed by the school community to encourage greater use of walking, cycling, car-pooling and public transport for the journey to and from school.

* 'Choke the smoke’ campaign
The “Choke the Smoke” campaign developed by the Ministry of Transport will deliver improved fuel economy and reductions in emissions through increased tuning of car engines in order to reduce harmful emissions that affect personal health. Use of alternative transportation (e.g. public transport, walking, cycling etc) is also promoted through the campaign. From 27 October 2006, all vehicles will need to pass a visible smoke check before their Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness can be renewed.

* Govt3 Programme - Fleet Audit
The Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Transport are working to achieve reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by offering all Govt3 signatories with fleets of over 50 vehicles the opportunity to have a free fleet audit undertaken.

* Review of Auckland Regional Growth Strategy (concentration of development around transport nodes)
The Review of the Auckland Regional Growth Strategy will reduce emissions by creating a city that has, among other things, a high quality environment and increased use of public transport through the development of transport 'hubs' or 'nodes'.

* Measures to improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet
The Government has indicated its intention to improve the fuel efficiency of New Zealand's vehicle fleet. Announcements on proposals to achieve this are due in October 2006.

* Measures to reduce motorway congestion
In addition to substantial increases in funding for motorway construction, the Government is putting in place measures to target congestion on suburban motorways, including automated traffic flow management systems at point of entry to motorways.

* Investment in public transport
A number of initiatives are underway to improve New Zealand's public transport. In the 2006/07 financial year, the Government committed $301 million to fund public transport and re-purchased the nation's rail tracks. The 2006/07 National Land Transport Programme allocated $136 million to passenger transport community services, $5.24 million to social services and $159.77 million to passenger transport infrastructure. Included in this amount is a commitment of $66.83 million for continuation of the Northern Busway in Auckland. The allocation for passenger transport services increased by 16% compared with 2005/06. Additionally, the Government has committed $600 million over the next four years to the ONTRACK programme to renew and upgrade the Auckland rail network ‘below track’ infrastructure.

* Mandatory fuel efficiency labelling
The Government has indicated its intention to introduce mandatory fuel efficiency labelling at point of sale so that consumers are empowered to make an informed choice every time they purchase a new or used vehicle.

* Changes to Petroleum Product Specification Regulations
Work is underway to reduce maximum permitted levels of sulphur, which in addition to delivering air quality benefits, will make New Zealand's fuel compatible with high-efficiency diesel vehicles.

Waste & Eco-Efficiency initiatives


* Reduce Your Rubbish campaign
This campaign provides simple ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing practical information on composting plant waste, food waste and other organic waste materials that would otherwise produce methane gas (a powerful greenhouse gas) in our landfills.

* National Environmental Standard (NES) for landfill gas
This Standard requires the collection and destruction of methane gas emitted from our landfills as a result of the decomposition of organic waste materials. The Standard allows for beneficial uses of the methane gas, for example generation of electricity from the gas.

* Organic Waste Programme
The Organic Waste Programme aims to reduce the amount of organic waste deposited into our landfills, thereby reducing methane emissions. The goal of the programme is the 95% diversion of commercial organic wastes from landfills by 2010, bringing down total landfill volumes by 800,000 tonnes and saving around $40 million in disposal costs each year.

* New Zealand Waste Strategy
The New Zealand Waste Strategy reduces emissions by setting in place a framework for addressing how we can minimise and manage our waste while aiming towards a zero waste future. In particular, the Strategy's focus on minimising organic wastes to landfill reduces methane emissions, while its work to re-use and recycle wastes with high embedded energy (e.g. metals) also reduces energy consumption and associated greenhouse gases. Practical targets within the Strategy include: re-using and recycling high-volume wastes, minimising and managing hazardous wastes, upgrading waste disposal facilities, and charging waste generators the true environmental cost of treatment and disposal.

* Simply Sustainable – an eco-efficiency toolkit for business
This web-based resource helps businesses reduce their emissions by promoting energy efficiency and best practice in waste management. The Simply Sustainable website is part of a wider “Eco Efficiency” programme run by the Ministry for the Environment which also reduces emissions by promoting best practice in relation to waste, resource efficiency and energy efficiency.

Water initiatives


* Water quality improvements in Lake Taupo
Past and current land use activities are threatening Lake Taupo’s water quality. To alleviate the problems caused by the excess agricultural runoff (including nitrates derived from the use of nitrogen fertiliser), the government is working with local stakeholders to encourage more sustainable land uses e.g. reforestation of land and best practice use of nitrogen fertilisers, which in turn reduce emissions.

* The Sustainable Water Programme of Action
This programme seeks to improve the management and protection of our freshwater resources into the future and acknowledges the fundamental importance of water to all New Zealanders. This programme promotes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (for water quality reasons) and the need to consider climate change in terms of future planning for water allocation and availability.

* Auckland Regional Council Start Programme (long term sustainability planning for the Auckland region)
This programme highlights the six areas of change that will impact on the region and its people. It recognises climate change as one of these areas and provides guidance to help focus attention and manage climate change emissions and the impacts of climate change.

* Dairying Clean Streams Accord
The Dairying Clean Streams Accord provides a statement of intent and framework for actions to promote sustainable dairy farming in New Zealand. It focuses on reducing the impacts of dairying on the quality of our streams, rivers, lakes, ground water, and wetlands, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of nitrogen fertiliser.

Agriculture and Forestry


* Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative (PFSI)
The Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative (PFSI) reduces emissions by providing an opportunity for landowners to establish permanent forests (which absorb greenhouse gas emissions) and gain fully tradable Kyoto Protocol compliant emission units.

* Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC) research
The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium research programme aims to reduce emissions by developing safe, cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction technologies to lower total New Zealand ruminant methane and nitrous oxide emissions by at least 20 percent by 2012. Research areas include on-farm technologies to improve production efficiency for ruminant animals and reduce emissions from digestion, and exploration of low-emission forage crops and nitrogen inhibitors.

* The forestry industry development agenda (FIDA)
The forestry industry development agenda (FIDA) reduces emissions as forests have an important role in mitigating climate change effects. Targeted transformational initiatives within FIDA also provides funding for woody biomass (bio-energy) projects.

* Sustainable Land Management Framework
The Sustainable Land Management Framework provides a strategic focus for the Government to promote sustainable land management, including afforestation, reforestation and best practice use of nitrogen fertilisers, which in turn reduce emissions.

* Sustainable Farming Fund funding
The Sustainable Farming Fund funding assists the land-based sectors to take up opportunities to overcome barriers to economic, social and environmental viability, . Funding categories include climate change.

* Implementing FACE programmes
The Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment studies the consequences of elevated atmospheric CO2 for grazed ecosystems. Implementing FACE-consistent programmes expands knowledge of grazing performance under expected future atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

* Landcare Trust Funding
Landcare Trust Funding provides support for projects that make a practical contribution to sustainable land management or biodiversity on private land including afforestation and reforestation activities which reduce emissions. The funding also promotes community awareness and knowledge exchange.

Biodiversity and Conservation


* New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy
The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy aims to halt the decline of indigenous biodiversity and protecting valuable introduced biodiversity on land and freshwater. The Strategy encourages afforestation and reforestation activities which reduce emissions.

* New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement
The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement lists policies in order to achieve the purpose of the RMA in relation to the coastal environment of New Zealand. The Policy Statement includes consideration of the impacts of sea level rise on coastal hazards.

Hazard Management


* Flood Risk Management Review

* Floods are expected to increase the frequency and severity of flooding in some parts of New Zealand, particularly those already vulnerable to floods. The Government's flood risk management review is seeking to improve how we manage flood risk and river control.

* Review of the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Strategy, Plan and Guide
The Review of the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Strategy, Plan and Guide found that future local emergency response capabilities in the four regions surveyed is of high standard. In some regions, the regional response process will work as expected under the Act, and good progress has been made by both regions and the Ministry in implementing the new civil defence emergency management environment. This includes consideration of changing risk profiles under climate change.

* Building Resilience - A Review of the On-farm Adverse Events Recovery Framework
With the impact of accelerated climate change we need to plan for bigger, more intense and more frequent adverse weather events. The Building Resilience programme outlines options for what recovery assistance central government could provide to farms following an adverse event. It also proposes a new approach to grading adverse events that attempts to be clear, consistent, but also flexible in order to take into account the unique circumstances of each adverse event.

Other Change Climate initiatives


* 4 Million Careful Owners campaign
The climate change section of the www.4million.org website provides practical and simple ways for us to reduce our energy use and emissions. The website encourages us to make better choices about transport and energy and what we do with our waste.

* New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory documents the sources of our greenhouse gas emissions and identifies specific areas to target for the reduction of emissions.

* New Zealand Carbon Accounting System
A Carbon Accounting System helps reduce emissions by providing a consistent and transparent framework to ensure that how we measure our carbon emissions complies with international standards and is scientifically sound.

* No Loss – Synthetic Greenhouse Gas initiative
“No Loss” is a scheme that requires bodies which handle synthetic greenhouse gases (greenhouse gas emissions which are, on average, several thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide) to have formal accreditation to minimise the risk of synthetic greenhouse gases leaking into the atmosphere.

* Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) - Memorandum of Understanding with Industry
This Memorandum promotes industry to adopt best practice in relation to the management of emissions of sulphur hexafluoride (a greenhouse gas which is many tens of thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide) to the atmosphere.

* Projects to Reduce Emissions (PRE) programme
The PRE programme supports initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period (2008 – 2012) by awarding emissions units or "carbon credits". These projects deliver reductions beyond those that would have occurred without the project.

* Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements (NGAs) programme
The NGA programme seeks to reduce emissions by use of agreements with industry. The future of such agreements is being considered as part of the current policy development process.

* Quality Planning Website - Guidance on the Resource Management Act 2004 amendment relating to climate change effects
The Quality planning website provides information on expected climate change impacts in New Zealand and advice on methods for considering and addressing climate change effects under the RMA.

* Climate change adaptation work programme
The climate change adaptation work programme has developed a range of informational and guidance materials on the impacts of climate change and how we can adapt to and plan for climate change. The Government will be enhancing adaptation efforts by ensuring better co-ordination between central government agencies, through the formation of new partnerships with local government, the agricultural sector, insurers and engineers, and by engaging with a wider range of other parties, including non-governmental organisations, on the need to prepare for climate change.

* Communities for Climate Protection New Zealand programme (CCP-NZ)
The Communities for Climate Protection New Zealand programme (CCP-NZ) provides the framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency and conservation, increasing sustainable transportation, enhancing urban design, and reducing landfill emissions at the municipal level.

* Development of the New Zealand Emissions Unit Registry (PDF 153 KB)
Development of the New Zealand Emissions Unit Registry is underway. The Registry will provide a framework through which private individuals and firms can hold accounts for Kyoto-compliant emissions units ('carbon credits') allocated under the Projects to Reduce Emissions programme and the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative, as well as under the Kyoto Protocol's 'Joint Implementation' mechanism and 'Clean Development Mechanism'.

* Exploration of possible opportunities for participation in the Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate
The Government will be exploring options to create links with the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Its current members (Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States) represent half of the world's economy and population, and account for half of its energy use. In view of the scale of the challenge posed by climate change, and New Zealand's desire to use all possible means to respond to it, there could be value in having closer links with this Partnership.


ENDS

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Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

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