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Emission reductions must be New Zealand’s priority

Emission reductions must be New Zealand’s priority and renewable electricity is the key

27 March 2019

Meridian Energy’s Chief Executive Neal Barclay says that reducing gross fossil fuels must be the absolute priority for all New Zealand businesses. This is Meridian’s response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) report ‘Farms, Forests and fossil fuels: The next great landscape transformation’.

“We agree that we must take action now with emissions reduction as the priority. Renewable electricity will provide the solution and this is staring us in the face,” says Neal.

“Much of New Zealand’s emissions from fossil fuels can be eliminated through the electrification of our economy. In fact, around 80-90% of non-agricultural emissions, like transport and industrial heat, can be removed by capturing the energy from the awesome renewable resources in this country.”

The PCE report talked to prioritising reduction of fossil fuels, but also noted that planting trees in New Zealand provided only a ‘short term fix’ to the broader climate action New Zealand needs to take.

“We believe that while there is some logic in the ‘short term’ concerns over planting, the reality is that tree planting buys us time while the solutions to electrify other systems become cheaper. But it’s also how we plant that counts, says Neal. “We think we can take a landscape approach that will provide a carbon engine through permanent forestation and through this we can increase values like biodiversity, water quality and erosion control.”

“No one wants to see New Zealand covered in pine,” says Neal. “That’s why we’ve begun work on our Forever Forests project, which is looking at how we can introduce a mixed model approach, planting a combination of native and exotic forests.”

There are a variety of ways we can increase the permanence of these forests and the carbon they hold and at Meridian we’re committed to finding solutions that we can share.


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