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2021 A Critical Year For NZ’s Climate Change Future

The Climate Change Commission’s first package of advice will be open for consultation from early next year.

The Climate Change Commission’s first package of advice will be open for consultation on or before February 1 next year and there will be a six-week consultation period.

It will outline what climate action could look like in Aotearoa. Their initial brief will include the first three emissions budgets covering the period until 2035. The commission will produce an emissions reduction plan to achieve those budgets.

Former deputy Reserve Bank governor and University of Canterbury vice-chancellor Rod Carr is chair of the Climate Change Commission. Dr Carr is an outstanding leader, accurate decision-maker and a brilliant bean-counter.

New Zealanders should consider some climate facts impacting Aotearoa:

• The United Kingdom’s emissions were 44 percent below 1990 levels in 2018 and the European Union’s 25 percent below 1990 levels in 2019. In comparison New Zealand's gross emissions have increased 23 percent since 1990.

• Kiwi coal-fired boilers are used for industrial processes and heating. It is estimated more than half of process heat in New Zealand is reportedly supplied using fossil fuels such as gas or coal which generated 8.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.

• Coal makes up just 11 percent of the fuel consumption used in process heat but generates 26 percent of the emissions.

• Replacing coal boilers with renewable energy alternatives will reduce emissions and ensure those businesses are prepared for the future.

• Transport accounts for about 20 percent of New Zealand’s domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has been the fastest growing source of our emissions. In the last 30 years, GHG emissions from transport grew by about 71 percent and according to Statistics New Zealand, household transport emissions increased by 15 percent between 2011 and 2017.

• New Zealand is only one of three OECD countries without any vehicle fuel efficiency standards.

• Around three-quarters of the 173 million public transport journeys each year in New Zealand are made by bus. The Ministry of Transport estimates that New Zealand’s public transport bus fleet currently produces 155,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) a year.

• Some cities have developed plans to decarbonise their public transport fleets. There are about 2600 public transport buses operating in New Zealand, mostly in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

• Auckland has two electric buses and will soon have eight more operating. Wellington is adding another 98 e-buses to its existing 11 and Christchurch will have 92 e-buses by 2022 or 46 percent of the fleet.

• Tackling waste is a critical part of our action on climate change. In 2018, waste produced 4.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – mostly methane from landfills, comprising 11 percent of New Zealand’s methane emissions and five percent of our total emissions.

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