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The Draft New Zealand Energy Strategy

The Draft New Zealand Energy Strategy

Comment by Royal Society Policy Analyst, Dr Jez Weston jez.weston@rsnz.org

Monday saw the release of the draft New Zealand Energy Strategy, at the head of a long line of discussion documents aiming at reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. The Royal Society's Energy Panel produced a major report to inform this strategy and will reply to the draft strategy. As well as the energy panel's input, the policy unit would like to hear from our members on this important discussion.

My initial response to the strategy is that the vision is great, the actions disappointing. The need for a price on greenhouse gas emissions, something that the Stern Review called "an essential foundation for climate-change policy", is accepted. The message has got through that we have enough cost-effective renewable generation to cover our electricity growth for decades. There is a strong emphasis on both energy efficiency and affordability.

Many of the actions are heading in the right direction, including preparing the vehicle fleet for biofuels and enabling distributed generation. There is also much about capability and coordination within energy research, with suggestions of a sustainable energy research and education centre.

The Tyndall Centre is suggesting a global cut of 90% may be needed by 2050 to prevent the worst catastrophes, while we will still have to adapt to some level of climate change. However, if every opportunity proposed by this strategy comes to pass, our emissions in 2030 will be no better than our 1990 level. The NZ Energy Strategy suggests we can do no better than to attempt to take 25 years to get us back to a level of emissions we were at 15 years ago. Given the urgency and risk of climate change, do you think this is enough?

ENDS


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