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The Climate Commission Report

Written By: - Date published: 5:19 pm, June 9th, 2021 - 54 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, labour, science - Tags:

As they said they would, the Government has today released the full advice from the Climate Commission, taking into account all the submissions and all the big fat evidence.

The government very much views this as an achievable blueprint, and have prepared for the release with strong indicators of the policy fields and responsibilities to get the whole plan together.

A few highlights:


The Commission recommends that the Government recycle revenue from the Emissions Trading Scheme back into emissions reductions programmes. Labour’s already committed to this from the 2022 Budget.

They also want much clearer information about financial firms’ exposure to climate risk. Minister Shaw has been on to this for a while. The government recently became the first country in the world to introduce a law requiring this.

Their next message was: don’t delay your start on this because the longer you leave it the tougher it will be on your economy.


From 1990 to 2019 our road transport emissions increased by 96.2%. Minister Wood put out a paper last month with four options to consider, to go into the Emissions Reduction Plan. Also he’s anticipated the Commission by already re-weighting the transport programme in favour of low-carbon transport projects and programmes. Including cycleways.


The Commission underscores the necessity of decreasing biogenic methane. They also want a farm-level emissions, management, and pricing system. There’s supposed to be work on that already underway across universities and Crown Research Agencies. It will be quite a test for Minister O’Connor to actually deliver a credible and widely accepted system to ruminant farmers in their part of the Emissions Reduction Plan. We’re still the only country in the world to legislate for a price on agricultural emissions.


Initiatives like the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund is a wee start. But also phasing out every single coal boiler in every public building. Somehow, get to Fonterra and NZSteel as well. This will need a much sterner signal from the Emissions Trading Scheme price signals. This is in the bailiwick of Minister Woods. James Shaw wants a sinking lid on total emissions.


Apparently there’s a thing called the Building for Climate Change Programme, which I confess I’ve not heard of. That’s with the Minister of Building and Construction Poto Williams. They could do worse than give ISCA a call – they’ve already accredited their first major infrastructure project here.

Clearly at the moment this is a set of non-binding advice with a whole lot of submissions and research behind it.

But if you want an even more adventurous government, get in there and lobby with your ideas to shape the system to achieve the goals.

We’ll see a bit of coverage on this over the next few days as the main players react.

54 comments on “The Climate Commission Report ”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    As Jacinda said today, this is a matter of life and death.

    I was almost in tears today and so thankful that we have a Prime Minister that realises that indsuptable fact, and takes the deadly nature of this crisis seriously.

    I am confident that if her government adopts these measures we will see real results in Aoteroa by 2050, and our children will inherit a sustainable and healthy environment by which to live in.

    Thank you Jacinda. For the second time in 18 months, you are making decisions which will literally save our lives.

    • Incognito 1.1

      The thing is that CC is a global issue that we cannot stop at the border. Everybody has to play their part and pull up their socks. Aotearoa-New Zealand can be a leader or a lagger. The Opposition is opting for the latter and hopefully this Government is opting to continue on their Covid path and do what it takes and more. As with the Covid measures, they will be costly and inconvenient and the burden should not fall disproportionally on the poorer Kiwis, as usual.

  2. Pat 2

    "The commission’s dropped its idea to electrify the main rail lines."


    "Electric planes by 2030 and electric ships after 2025 are significant additions. "


    • alwyn 2.1

      I'm sure that Grant R. is planning to set up New Zealand's answer to Airbus. Our new world leading business.

      I believe that there are a couple of cases where companies have converted 9 passenger aircraft to be powered by batteries and to have flown them for up to 30 minutes.

      I also understand they only had a pilot on board though. But hey, we can lead the world.

        • alwyn

          You should be careful. I have seen adverse comments from moderators when people simply post a link with absolutely nothing else to explain why the link is of any meaning to the debate..

          What on earth did you do it for anyway? The link has nothing whatsoever to do with my comment so why are you replying to me? Surely even you can see that.

          • Incognito

            The link is a perfect response to your comment. Surely, even you can see that. You don’t need to read the linked article, just go by the title/headline. Surely, even you can manage that.

            Please let us know what else Grant R. is planning, since you’re so sure about it.

            Yes, we can lead the world and you better believe it!

            • alwyn

              A perfect response?

              You do know the difference between aircraft and tugboats don't you? One flies. The other one floats.

              And you are aware that Airbus is one of the two main producers of aircraft?

              And you did observe that I never commented on whether tugboats, or other ships, could be battery powered? I very seriously doubt the feasibility of battery powered passenger aircraft, not whether ships may go that way.

              So please explain why you think an article talking about boats being battery powered has anything to do with my having serious doubts about the arrival of battery powered passenger planes in the next decade or so?

              • Incognito

                One flies. The other one floats.

                And here endeth Alwyn’s lesson for the day.

                Tomorrow’s lesson: which of the two fits into the Government’s plan to tackle CC?

                One step at the time and at the end of the year Master Shaw will do his exam.

                • alwyn

                  I am pleased to see that you are capable of learning, at least when it is about simple concepts. You now seem to have grasped the idea that just because two words are used in a single sentence they don't always go together and that it is possible to talk about one of them without including the other. Very good.

                  Next week we will perhaps try and get you to understand that one word can have different meanings. Rocket. If you try very hard we may be able to understand that just because Robert Stephenson called his early locomotive 'Rocket' it doesn't mean it was a rocket in the way that the word is used for the vehicles that launch objects into space. If you try very hard I think we can teach you that. Then, if you visit a railway station you won't be disappointed when the vehicle that pulls up is not a Saturn 5 first stage. You will have to concentrate of course, which may be rather hard for you.

                  I fear you may have limitations of course. I doubt we can expect you to ever understand that, when Thomas Piketty wrote 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century', it wasn't a dissertation on Wellington's enthusiasm for bike lanes during the last 20 years.

              • joe90

                serious doubts about the arrival of battery powered passenger planes in the next decade or so?

                Fortunately, not everyone's ready to throw the towel in just yet.

                Wright Electric has completed what it says will be a key element in its plans to develop an electric propulsion system that could potentially power a single-aisle airliner to enter commercial service by 2030. The U.S. company reported late last week that it has successfully demonstrated the inverter that will convert DC power from batteries to the AC power that will drive electric motors.


                • alwyn

                  I would certainly love to see such a development. I am a little doubtful when I read "The 15-employee start-up has financial backing from Y Combinator and the Clean Energy Trust, as well as from various venture capital groups and private investors." but I guess even Microsoft and Alphabet started as two people operations.

                  I'm a little put off because I felt very strongly, back in about 2018 or so, that we would have fully self driving cars in around a decade. I'm not quite so confident at the moment., even if we apparently have self driving taxies in Phoenix AZ They are still having problems though with the technology and limit the area they can be used in and the people who are allowed to be customers.

                  Still, even if it takes a bit longer than 2030 electric planes will get here sometime.

    • Pat

      "The commission’s dropped its idea to electrify the main rail lines."


      "Electric planes by 2030 and electric ships after 2025 are significant additions. "


      *Kicking can, road, down the,

      • Incognito 2.2.1

        You didn’t read or don’t understand the OP. So much is clear from your simpleton comment.

        Maybe you could do some analysis on this particular aspect, yes? I’m sure there is more than a soundbite or headline in the Report to guide you. Or just do what Pat did and show your outrage.

        • Pat

          Outrage?…or disbelief?

          Tugboats dont move freight nor people and as noted by KJT electrifying rail is low hanging fruit that can be converted with proven existing technology , so can kicking as Jenny says is a fair observation.

          I hear the Commissioner and Minister are to be interviewed on RNZ shortly.

          • Incognito

            Hi Pat, your commentary is usually of much higher standard than three letter expletives. As you can see, it invites simpleton comments from others and I’m sure that was not the Author’s intention.

            A tugboat is just a tugboat, don’t get hung up on, that’s Alwyn’s job.

            I’m sure you realise that the Report is advice to the Government, in the first instance, and to all of us. It is clearly mentioned in the OP.


            • Pat

              "A tugboat is just a tugboat, don’t get hung up on, that’s Alwyn’s job."

              Indeed…and a simpleton response.

              The advice to the Government that is as the Minister again stated is the basis for their decision making…and we know time is of the essence.

              • Incognito

                “It is smarter and cheaper to act now, and that’s why we’ve spent the last three and a half year laying the foundations for a prosperous, low-emissions economy.

                “But we can see from the Commission’s advice there is more to do.

                “How we’ll do this will be set out in an Emissions Reduction Plan that will be published before the end of the year.”

                The Commission’s final advice sets out a pathway for reducing emissions across a range of sectors, all of which the Government is making progress on.

                • Pat

                  "KiwiRail's rolling stock fleet has an average age of 35 years and the South Island fleet has an average age of 46 years. The expected useful life of a locomotive is about 30 years."


                  We have committed to a fossil fuel powered rail network past 2050…that may appear progress to you , to me its an admission that net carbon zero is not being treated with the urgency the rhetoric claims.

                  • Incognito

                    I don’t expect progress to be equally fast or slow, for that matter, in all areas and sectors. Similarly, not all areas sectors make an equal contribution to the overall balance of outputs (greenhouse gasses).

                    • Pat

                      Not all sectors contribute equally but the sector you have nominated to pick up a substantial reallocation of transport movements can be rightly expected to have close attention paid to its capacity to reduce its carbon footprint…..unless the nomination is faux, which would call into question the entire basis of the proposal.

                    • Incognito []

                      Isn’t that the Opposition’s job, to find a tiny issue and magnify it as much as they can hoping it will blow up in the Government’s face and destroy any public perception of legitimacy and justification? It seems the Cynic-19 virus is mutating rapidly here and becoming more infectious 🙁

                    • Pat

                      I thought the oppositions job (whomever they may be) was to (re)gain the Treasury benches.

                      Cynicism is fed by disingenuity….they have only themselves to blame.

                    • Incognito []

                      I do also find it hard to resist the temptation to become cynical, pessimistic, and negative. It takes conscious, constant, and considerable effort, AKA eternal vigilance. But I keep tugging along …

                    • Pat

                      Yes it is difficult not to be cynical by default, something I check myself with constantly….I like to think I am a fair minded cynic however.

                    • Incognito []


            • alwyn

              "A tugboat is just a tugboat, don’t get hung up on, that’s Alwyn’s job."

              And just what do tugboats have to do with me? If you insist on making snide remarks about me at least try to make them at least slightly relevant.

              Do you even read what I say or are your comments just an uncontrolled reflex response to seeing my name? If you can't give a rational response to what I have to say why not simply accept that fact instead of just throwing vague insults into the mix.

      • KJT 2.2.2

        Puzzling if true.

        Electrifying the main line is ,,"low hanging fruit".

        Achievable within the short term with currently available technology.

        And, if we put much more on rail, stop wasting money on more roads for trucks, a big decrease in transport pollution.

        Electrifying ships, as opposed to small boats on short runs, hasn't been solved. Nor has electric freight and passenger aircraft.

        I suspect nuclear fusion is likely to happen faster than electric, in future. Even if we triple the energy density of batteries electric still doesn't work.

        The two uses where the energy density of hydrogen, used as a storage/battery for ships and aircraft, has a place.

        • Stuart Munro

          For shipping, hybrid sailers are a better path than electric in any case. Battery issues like cost and displacement won't make long run electric shipping especially rational for quite some time.

          Electric flight, aside from lighter than air, looks like a folly at this point – a black hole down which to pour funds that should be electrifying rail or the like.

          There are a lot of established technologies that can be upteched to provide lighter carbon use without gratuitous waste of funds – a cable car system for bikes and pedestrians could cross a certain harbour pretty cheaply for instance, and being much lighter than other options could be built much more quickly also, with less use of carbon intensive inputs like cement and steel.

          • KJT

            Much as I would like it. I would have a job for life teaching how to make square riggers go to windward, sail is not a viable option. The number of hybrid sailing ships required to replace one container ship heading from Auckland to Lyttelton, against a normal winters SW's would be less energy efficient than the diesal ship. Which is in itself more energy efficient than even, electric trains

            Electric flight, especially for freight, will not be viable for decades, if ever.

            You are forgetting, with a bridge is that it lasts over a hundred years, saving emissions and energy long after the build costs, emissions included, is long ago lost in time. Any other option is more expensive in both energy and money. But typical of NZ short term thinking.

  3. Gosman 3

    Why should the government regulate gas out of existence when surely biogas is as much a "clean" energy as using wood? In many cases (such as rural areas and camping) gas fired cookers are the best way of cooking food.

    • KJT 3.1

      I think we are talking about petroleum derived gas, fossil fuels.

      There will still be biogas available for our camp stoves.

      A use for all that bovine methane, perhaps.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        Except I thought the idea was to restrict the installation of gas appliances. Surely there is little problem with gas appliances if they use Biogas?

        • KJT

          I agree.

          In fact, I think biogas is what we will use in future for off grid power. A friend already runs his stove and hot water off his compost and toilet.

          However it cannot, at least with present technology, be enough to replace our fossil gas use in quantity. Need about 10 times New Zealand's current planted area, to replace our current energy use with biofuels. I can't see farmers, who resist even the slightest attempts to make them pay for their industries pollution, adopting carbon capture anythime soon. Or any of our Governments having the guts to make them.

          Gas may have a future. Certainly oil companies and the Aussie Government, are investing big in it to avoid stranded assets. The billions they have put into the Gorgon project, for one. Look up https://netpower.com/xt Power

          This may work for electricity generation, not for inefficient domestic gas appliances though. The problem oil companies have is after decades of AGW denial, no one believes them anymore

          Then there is nuclear fusion.

          All of those are future maybes though.

          Electrifying the main line and reducing trucks on the roads are things we can do now! The current mania for building roads for trucks, may well prove, like investment in coal power plants, wasted money.

          • Gosman

            This is the problem. The Climate Commission is recommending that the government ban the installation of Gas appliances when the real issue is not the appliances themselves but the type of fuel they are using. Surely you just want to ensure that the Gas that is "bad" is taxed so that people use the Gas that is "good".

            • KJT

              Yes. I think we should be keeping all options in play.

              Being realistic about AGW mitigation, it will take a big energy use reduction, energy efficient buildings, transport, products, along with technologies, new developments and research.

              There is no ,"magic bullet".

              • Gosman

                I don't think you understood my point. Why is the Climate Change Commissioner recommending action that is unnecessary for tackling climate change?

                • KJT

                  Yes. I do.

                  There are many things in the commission's report, even with my limited reading of it so far, that I find puzzling.

    • Gosman

      10 June 2021 at 7:59 am

      …….In many cases (such as rural areas and camping) gas fired cookers are the best way of cooking food.

      Welcome to the 21st Century Gossie.

      • Gee Gossie, you are so fossil fuelish. Just think, how useful this device would be after the Zombie Apocalypse, when all gas supply retail outlets have been trashed. After a long day of blasting zombies, you could still make yourself a toasted cheese sandwich.

      • Gosman 3.2.2

        You are not addressing the issue I raised. Why are gas fired appliances a problem if they use biofuel?

        • What bio-fuel?

          Z Energy puts biofuel plant to sleep, asks for Govt money

          Eloise Gibson, May 12 2020

          Z Energy has put its Auckland biofuel plant to sleep after a bidding war broke out for the fatty animal waste it runs on.

          Fourteen people's jobs will be lost, while Z looks into selling the fuel overseas to earn a higher margin. A further five employees will keep their jobs…..


          In the end, Z Energy's much hyped biofuel project has proved to be little more than a marketing side show to divert the public’s attention, while they continue with their main business uninterrupted.

          Similar, I suspect, to your quibble about gas powered camp cookers.

          • gsays

            I went to a tiny house 'expo' in Motueka recently. I saw a domestic unit that has got me inspired.

            Try this biogas:


  4. gsays 4

    All good at Government and corporate level.

    The BIG challenge us 'What do we do as an individual?'

    Ralph Sins was on The Panel speaking in this. He reckoned cut down in good waste. 1/3 of food we buy us thrown out

    Also being a 'reductarian', reducing the amount if meat you eat.

  5. Ad 5

    I haven't seen this government try and turn whole industry sectors yet. Other than housing. It's going to need the most monumental effort from all of the relevant Ministers.

    This government are certainly good at bailing employers out, and letting some really low productivity sectors wither. Good work on both counts.

    But whether they have enough levers, and can operate them with sufficient skill, to let our industry sectors react and adjust to such policies ….. I have my doubts.

  6. '

    'Fundamentally dishonest'

    We are being scammed.

    No Right Turn

    Wednesday, June 09, 2021

    The draft report set its budget based on 2018 emissions….

    ….New Zealand's Paris target, which uses a 2005 baseline to hide how weak it is against internationally-reportable 1990 numbers). This rewards failure, delays action, and is fundamentally dishonest.


  7. Sabine 7

    In the meantime Wellington is cancelling busses because the local population does not want jobs that don't pay a living wage or something and no one wants to drive the busses. But then maybe all the drivers got just ill, and are still ill, as that is an ongoing problem. Maybe we need some cheap drivers from overseas to make up for the shortfall?


    Wellington’s bus service has apologised for increased cancellations, after more than 100 services were cancelled in a four-day period.

    Tramways Union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan said the cancellations were a symptom of a much wider problem.

    Drivers were fed-up with poor pay and conditions in the industry, he said.

    Roger Blakeley​, chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Transport Committee, said they were acutely aware of the cancellations, and disruptions caused, and were working directly with the bus companies to solve the issue.

    It is less than three months since Metlink issued a similar apology.

    In December it said staff leave and increased illness had resulted in more cancellations, but O’Sullivan said it was due to 40 drivers resigning over poor working conditions.

    Just don't give up your car yet, if you need transport, because a reliable public transport / bus / train service, that is really hard work.

    Here have an EV……….that will make it all better.

    • Ed1 7.1

      We need to keep remembering that problems with Wellington Transport are the natural result of the then National Government policies that forced the Regional Council to accept contracts on the basis of lowest price only, with bids able to be made on parts of the system only to ensure that the service would be fragmented. The contracting companies can only make money by exploiting deficiencies in the provisions for penalties for non-performance; which the Council needs to apply vigorously, but which will be resisted by the contracting companies . . . at everyone's expense.

      While presumably contracting requirements are no longer so stupidly idealogical, I suspect the best solution is to return to council owned services for both buses and rubbish collection – think of the emissions from having multiple companies running trucks around picking up rubbish from their çlients'and missing others . . .

      Does anyone know when bus services contracts come up for renewal?

    • Ad 7.2

      The utter failure of Let's Get Wellington Moving is on the shoulders of all the councils there including Wellington Regional Council. They have been given every opportunity to get a plan to government – and this government is by a long way the most public-transport-friendly this country has had since the 1930s.

      Currently the only major transport projects underway in the Wellington region are central government ones. In time the Wellington Council budget from this year will make a difference.

      It would not surprise me if the Minister simply makes all his main moves through the NLTP and otherwise ignores Wellington's civic politics altogether.

  8. Pat 8

    Less is more….unless it's time.


    "The lack of urgency is highlighted by the latest analysis of climate risk by Breakthrough, Australia’s National Centre for Climate Restoration. Its Climate Reality Check found that to avoid catastrophic outcomes, net-zero emissions will have to be reached globally by 2030, not 2050."


    It appears we are determined to "win slowly".

  9. Phillip ure 10

    I guess not eating animal-flesh…is off the table…?

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