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The Emissions Reduction Plan we voted for

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, May 17th, 2022 - 33 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, greens, james shaw, julie anne genter, labour, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Nearly my shortest post ever, because there’s not a lot else that needs to be said.

However, I suspect the tweet will annoy some Labour supporters as well as dissers of the Greens, so let’s pull it apart. From the Green Party’s website: Finally a Plan to take on the Climate Crisis,

Over the last four years, the Greens in Government have laid the foundations for climate action in every part of Aotearoa. The Emissions Reduction Plan(ERP) is a landmark all-of-Government plan to cut climate pollution in a way that makes life better for everyone, protects nature, and improves our communities.

It comes after decades of calling for climate action and after years of negotiations led by Green Party Co-leader and Climate Minister James Shaw. And what’s more, it will be paid for by polluters.

Containing over 300 initiatives to cut climate pollution, it’s a big deal and will have a huge influence on the future of Aotearoa.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most transformative initiatives: 

  • More walking, cycling and public transport through a range of local and national measures
  • Clean car standard to begin in 2023, and further measures to make EVs affordable – such as social leasing and scrap and replace the scheme
  • Decarbonising freight so our trucks and trains run on clean energy not oil
  • Improving kerbside waste collection across Aotearoa
  • A ban on new low & medium temperature coal boilers and phasing out existing coal boilers (by 2037)
  • Less organic waste in landfills & $103 million for waste reduction
  • Banning new fossil fuel baseload generation & 100% renewable power generation
  • Improvements to public transport including reducing emissions caused by buses (zero by 2035), a national ticketing system & funding for better bus systems
  • Gas Transition Plan for households and businesses
  • A strategy for an equitable transition & working with unions, communities and businesses to develop plans
  • Changing the building code for warmer, dryer, more energy-efficient buildings
  • Funding for the development of regenerative farming practices & for Māori farmers to adopt low emissions farming practices
  • Māori climate strategy that prioritises mātauranga Māori
  • Restoration and protection of indigenous forests

These initiatives are decades in the making. The truth is we’ve known how to address the climate crisis for many years. The hard part has been getting politicians to act.

That’s why the ERP is so significant. Finally, we have a commitment and a plan to act, all while creating jobs and making polluters pay.

My emphasis. The ERP isn’t enough, and the Greens, and Shaw, openly say this. (full plan is here). One of the biggest holes is what’s happening with agriculture.

(If it’s too depressing, remember that meanwhile, in the background, a whole bunch of farmers have been doing regenag anyway. When the rest of New Zealand catches up, those farms will be the signposts of how to transition ag).

Analysis and critique from Russell Norman, Marc Daalder at Newsroom, Bernard Hickey at The Kākā, and Greenpeace NZ.

However the problems with the ERP doesn’t mean it is nothing. Professor Bronwyn Hayward, Director of Hei Puāwaitanga Sustainable Development and Civic Imagination Research group, Canterbury University,

“It’s easy to be cynical, but I do feel quietly optimistic, that finally this is an emissions plan that starts us as a nation on a new journey of clearly reporting and measuring the difference we are making for our climate and our community. Having the Climate Commission regularly assess our progress is a very real difference to anything we’ve had in the past. All evidence shows that the countries that are able to sustain downward emissions reductions while also protecting populations are countries that that have an independent plan and an independent agency to assess performance over time. This is why it matters that the NZ Climate Commission sets out the budget for the amount of heat trapping gas we can produce as a country and assesses our performance. Their independence is crucial.

Thomas Nash, Greater Wellington Regional Council councillor and climate chair,

Nash also speaks to the importance of having the structures set in place,

The scale of the plan’s cross government reach is remarkable (although undoubtedly boring to most people) and the funding is big, far more than anything ever facilitated by a Green Minister.

That boring stuff is gold. They’re all pointing to the fact that in order to make effective change you have to have government departments willing and able to implement that change, and the legislative structures so that Nact don’t tear it all down again. That’s what we have now. It will get easier to do the things we should be doing, should we vote in a more climate progressive government next year.

The rest of Nash’s thread focuses on the details of the major transport restructuring, and he also points to where the limitations are coming from,

The plan’s headline grabbing focus on replacing fossil fuel private cars with EVs feels out of touch with reality if you’re thinking about the wider climate, transport and urban planning challenge, but I guess it is the kind of policy Labour Ministers felt comfortable funding.

Climate Minister James Shaw was copping a big of flack yesterday, some blaming him for the ERP not being better/stronger. Which demonstrates a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of how parliament works. In 2017 we had a Labour-led coalition government with NZ First. The Greens provided Confidence and Supply. In 2020, Labour got to govern alone, but gave two Ministerial portfolios to the Greens, including Climate.

Shaw as Climate Minister is formally outside of Cabinet but must support and implement Labour’s Cabinet decisions. (PDF of Labour/Green agreement). Pretty amazing what he has managed to achieve despite all that.

If the Greens had been coalition partners in 2017, and had more MPs and again been in coalition in 2020, we’d be seeing a very different plan. If the Greens were the major party, we’d be streets ahead of where we are now. NZ First dragged the chain in 2017, but the problems with the ERP rest largely with Labour. If you think this is on Shaw, see if you can explain how, within the structures of parliament and the Labour/Green agreement, he could have made Labour adopt more progressive climate policy.

It’s inconceivable that the Greens would have not moved on agriculture if they had been allowed. From their Climate policy,

Agriculture: Immediately begin a phase-in of greenhouse gas emission
pricing for agriculture, along with suitable support for a Just Transition for
affected communities. There are cost-effective ways to reduce agricultural
emissions, many of which also boost on-farm productivity, biodiversity and
resilience and reduce other forms of pollution (see our Agricultural and Rural Affairs policy)

Labour’s environmental approach,

Labour will keep working with farmers on our world-first partnership to reduce primary sector climate emissions at the farm level, including improving tools for estimating and benchmarking emissions on farms, increasing farm advisory capacity and capability, and providing recognition for on-farm mitigation.

and

“New Zealand’s agriculture sector and our farmers already do so much to address climate change and Labour will support them in that work by increasing funding across agricultural climate change research programmes by $6 million a year, to boost research happening in New Zealand and build on our international leadership in this area.

Supporting farmers to reduce emissions through integrated farm planning.

Nothing about agriculture, the ETS and regulating the farming sector, lots about letting farmers get there in their own time. But the whole point is that we no longer have the time to spare.

Te Pāti Māori,

  • Bring methane emissions from agriculture into the ETS, and incentivise transitioning away from intensive dairying

TPM also have a solid emphasis on regenerative agriculture, as do the Greens.Te Pāti Māori climate policy,

Intensive dairying has become the country’s biggest river and climate polluter in Aotearoa. The IPCC says we need significant reductions in methane in the next eight years to keep the world under 1.5C. Aotearoa can only meet its emissions reductions obligations by significantly reducing livestock numbers and moving away from emissions-intensive farming practices like the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and imported feed, and towards regenerative and value-added farming.

Regenerative agriculture has its roots in indigenous farming practices that our tupuna used to produce food sustainably before European colonisation. Regenerative farming also fits in with climate adaptation as it increases resilience against impacts from drought, flooding, and other extreme weather events, and improves food self-sufficiency.

I cannot find anything on Labour’s website about regenag. This matters because regenag and allied systems are the way we can farm sustainably while lowering emissions and building resiliency. Mainstream farming tech isn’t going to get us out of this as a primary approach and it looks like Labour believe we can green the massive number of industrial dairy farms (and Fonterra) and all will be well. No-one taking climate seriously believes that.

I’m not saying this from a partisan position. I’m saying this to point out that if we truly want adequate progress on climate, if we are willing to act as if climate is the greatest crisis of our time (it is) and act as if it is here, now (it is), then we need to support and vote for the parties that will give us that. We are fortunate to have both the Green Party and Te Pāti Māori to choose from. New Zealand would be very well served by having all three parties in government next year.

Don’t forget the local body elections on October 8th!

33 comments on “The Emissions Reduction Plan we voted for ”

  1. Peter 1

    Act as if climate is the greatest crisis of our time?

    Speaking of which … on the other side there are some who see the biggest crisis of our time is that National is not the Government.

    So what would a National / Act government have announced instead of what came out yesterday?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      If they followed the Key model they would nod and agree that climate change is a terrible thing then step by step and decision by decision they would undermine the country's ability to do anything.

    • AB 1.2

      So what would a National / Act government have announced instead of what came out yesterday

      That we need a 'strong economy' to be able to afford to take action on climate change. That means ensuring that the private sector is profitable, can fund R&D and come up with market-based solutions to emissions reduction. To make businesses profitable we need to reduce their unnecessary costs including wages and compliance costs. Compliance costs that need slashing include health and safety, immigration restrictions, fair pay agreements, minimum wage laws and (ahem) environmental regulations.

      In other words, in order to lower carbon emissions we just need to keep them high (and higher) for a bit longer until the magic of markets leads us to solutions. It won't be for long (promise) and this absolutely isn't kicking the can down the road.

      And this is why it seems that National are relatively comfortable with what was announced yesterday. They figure that if they get into power they can easily just weaken it a bit more to give their supporters/donors what they want.

      Labour is doing what they think is politically possible and can't really be blamed for that. But we are really politically stuck on this issue until the Nat/ACT influence is a minor one only. Which means that so much future warming is now baked in that we'll need to be thinking about mitigation – probably an even worse sh*t fight than emission reduction.

    • Incognito 1.3

      So what would a National / Act government have announced instead of what came out yesterday?

      Lip service and stall, stall, stall.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Shortest post? 🙂

    I'm with Thomas Nash:

    "The way to get stronger government action on climate is to elect a more progressive government next year and climate oriented councils this year. I’m as frustrated as everyone else who knows the plan is not enough and that we have no time for any more wrong moves on climate."

    When rung by The Southland Times for comment, I had a lot to say about industry and my delight to find their inclusion in the plan, with the notable exception of agriculture, and used Fonterra's CO2 spewing factory at Edendale as an example, but they selected my more anodyne comments for publication 🙂 The Southland Regional council has gathered its skirts and leapt into semi-action with a strong initiative, that I support, naturally, and wanted to "localise" my comments on the Emissions Reduction Plan announcement 🙂 I might use Nash's comment when asked to describe our own efforts a little down the track. It is pleasing though, to feel the tides turn on several levels.

    "Environment Southland councillor Robert Guyton said it was very encouraging to see such wide-reaching policies put forward, and believed Southland was in an “amazing” position to transform its industries in line with the plan.

    “We have vast amounts of land, good rainfall and quite a few less people than other regions … we're quite innovative, Southland people … we’re in a good place to transform,” he said.

    The creation of the Environment Southland Climate Change subcommittee, for example, was a promising sign for the region.

    “The new climate change committee is extremely important … these issues are being actively addressed, I am extremely proud of it.”

    However, the Emissions Reduction Plan was largely proposals and pathways forward, Guyton said, and he was mindful that some industries such as agriculture may push back against implementing proposed regulations.

    “We have to hope they go ahead,” he said.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/128657180/emissions-reduction-plan-too-much-too-soon-for-ev-sales

    • weka 2.1

      Shortest post?

      self deprecating (JAG’s tweet could have stood on its own, I can’t write a short post to save myself),

      can we put your whole statement up as a post? Including the bits they didn’t publish

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        I'm not especially pleased with what was published – my full response (over the phone, un-prepared-for) was far stronger than what was selected. Consequently, I don't have a record of the full conversation. The paper chose not to include most of my comments about land-use changes in Southland, the outrageous burning of lignite by Fonterra and so on. I don't blame the reporter; I'm pleased they called me and I've received a lot of messages in response, including several from my fellow councillors 🙂

        There will be a better "seed statement" for a post out there; the release of James Shaw's work yesterday has moved the conversation forward dramatically, imo. Thursday's budget will ginger it up even more 🙂

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Putting up posts that look at important issues through a regional lens is good I think. I probably won't be able to write such a post, but if you feel the inclination at any point, the door is open 👍

          Good to hear your optimism. I suspect that in a few years time things will have changed a fair amount. The balance is with voters and the left.

    • barry 2.2

      I know it is not what you all that you would have wanted said, but for the Southland Times that is already a lot. Keep up the fantastic work.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.1

        Thank you, Barry. It certainly fed into the council's climate committee workshop today. Putting our (councillors) hands up as a team willing to lead on the issue, is something I've been pushing for a long time now. The ES staff are excellent around this topic – we have people who are highly qualified in this very field. There will be more reports in The Southland Times before too long – I don't expect to be the one answering the questions, but they'll be asked of someone on the council.

        • Poission 2.2.1.1

          Did you discuss that announced projects as a part of the ERF and Regional development up to now will mean 100000 tons of co2 pa from industrial processes and Government services (schools ,prisons etc) will not be forthcoming,over the ER period.

          That the projects also increase efficiency in onsite energy use,such as electricity for a further saving in generation ,and the saving in co2 alone ( from above process mitigation) of around 1 tonne is equivalent to each South lander not exhaling (respiration ) for 3 months.

          • Robert Guyton 2.2.1.1.1

            Nope. Suggesting that Southlanders not exhale would damage my chances at the coming election 🙂

  3. Blade 3

    James Shaw was interviewed by Mikey and Jamie McKay today.

    Mikey destroyed him completely. And even the more benign McKay, had James talking inanities at times. To be fair, things may have been different if Shaw had complete control over government climate policy.

    In my opinion, Labour needs to prepare for the opposition benches next year. Or, even better, call an early election and put us out of our misery.

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/audio/james-shaw-climate-change-minister-says-the-government-has-been-forced-to-play-catch-up-on-emissions-reduction-plan/

    • Incognito 3.1

      Mikey destroyed him completely.

      That’s a shame, if indeed true, and so typical of those shock-jocks who always play the man to boost their own ego and ratings. Did they have anything useful to say about (against, one would assume) the ERP or had it gone over their heads, as usual?

      What would happen if they called a snap election and how would it help to reduce emissions in NZ? What would you like to see happening and why?

      • Blade 3.1.1

        ''That’s a shame, if indeed true.''

        A link is provided so you can make your own judgements.

        "What would happen if they called a snap election and how would it help to reduce emissions in NZ? What would you like to see happening and why?"

        I can't answer that because Weka doesn't allow dissenting views regarding Climate Change on her threads covering the issue.

        • Incognito 3.1.1.1

          If the claim about ‘destruction’ of Shaw is true then I have no interest in listening to the hatchet job. If it is not true then I have no interest in confirming this. Either way, I don’t care because it is largely irrelevant to the ERP.

          I’m interested in your personal opinion but you duck for cover, which makes some sense under this Post. You could always argue your opinion on OM instead of cowardly spamming weka’s CC Posts with hatchet jobs by shock-jocks who will oppose any policy or plan to reduce NZ emissions just for the sake of it and because it came from a Labour-Green Government.

          BTW, I don’t think weka has a problem with dissenting views per se but with outright CC denials. However, please don’t put this to the test here 😉

          • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.1.1

            I think weka is known for sweeping idiot-posts into the trash, rather than disallowing dissenting views. At least, that's how I read it.

    • AB 3.2

      In my limited exposure to 'Mikey', I have never heard him destroy anything other than all evidence of his own rationality.

    • weka 3.3

      Hoskings wanted the Climate Minister to answer a question about a specific model of car and if it was included in the subsidy or not. MH is an idiot, I gave up listening after that.

      (it was kind of interesting though listening to Shaw parse MH's obvious trolling and try and find a way to give a coherent answer. Some of the questions were good, some of them were daft).

      • Blade 3.3.1

        Obvious trolling by MH??

        He started the interview by giving a Shaw a chance to salvage some mana. The point Hosking has shown up again is….there is no point to the government’s announced policy. Shaw talked MAINLY in generalities. Everything is endlessly malleable. There is no detail as Mikey pointed out.

        Shaw couldn't define a low income family and didn't want to get into details about how they may benefit from the car scheme.

        Shaw is the minister fronting this, and anyone not living in an ideological bubble, knows he has failed to deliver.

        That leads to my next point. Having been banned for the best part of the last six weeks, I have been able to smell the roses a little more. Weka, you may not be aware of the anger out in the community towards this government.

        This ERP policy has just added fuel to the fire.

        BTW- I'm prepared to listen to any interview you may like to post showing Shaw in a good light with regards to the ERP.

        • Incognito 3.3.1.1

          Shaw couldn't define a low income family and didn't want to get into details about how they may benefit from the car scheme.

          That’s odd because in a different interview this morning he said:

          Bridge questioned Shaw, arguing the scheme seemed very expensive – but the Climate Change Minister said "vehicles are a reasonably expensive asset" and people could receive a rebate of between $6000 to $10,000 per vehicle.

          https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/05/climate-change-minister-james-shaw-defends-govt-s-scrap-and-replace-scheme-for-electric-vehicles-after-act-slams-policy.html

          And Michael Wood said this morning:

          Transport Minister Michael Wood said the threshold would be about the median household income.

          "The median household income is around about $75,000 or so – it'll be round about that level – we'll do further work to make sure that's that very specific."

          The scrap and replace scheme would apply to vehicles eight years old or less, and costing $35,000 and below.

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/467240/evs-will-still-be-out-of-reach-for-many-despite-new-subsidy-industry-warns

          I reckon that some interviewers are good at their jobs and get the best out of their guests and some are just shock-jocks. MH is just a shite interviewer, which is why the PM also doesn’t like to waste her precious time on him by default.

          Having been banned for the best part of the last six weeks, I have been able to smell the roses a little more. Weka, you may not be aware of the anger out in the community towards this government.

          As an aside, and irrelevant to the OP, anger is not a good measure of and for good or bad policy, it simply is an instinctive emotion that requires not using the frontal cortex.

          Let’s put a few things straight here. You were banned (by me) for 4 weeks from 1 April to 29 April and then again (by me) for 10 days from 3 May to 13 May. FWIW, weka challenged the second ban in the back-end (which reminds me that I should reply). I think you should be banned more often and for longer, so that you can smell more roses and look at the moon – it was full moon last night and I hope you got to enjoy it despite being allowed back here.

        • weka 3.3.1.2

          Obvious trolling by MH??

          I guess the other explanation is he's ignorant. Do you really expect the Climate Minister to know how a specific model and make of car fits into the scheme?

          He started the interview by giving a Shaw a chance to salvage some mana.

          This presumes he'd lost mana.

          The point Hosking has shown up again is….there is no point to the government’s announced policy.

          You don't believe in AGW, so of course you see no point. But it's obviously there and been talked about extensively in the past few days and the past year. I even wrote a post about why it is important.

          Shaw talked MAINLY in generalities. Everything is endlessly malleable. There is no detail as Mikey pointed out.

          That's not true. Shaw said some is detail and some is plans that need to be developed. This is stupid politicking, especially off the back of govt being majorly involved in the pandemic response in the past two years.

          Shaw couldn't define a low income family and didn't want to get into details about how they may benefit from the car scheme.

          Bullshit, he explained.

          Shaw is the minister fronting this, and anyone not living in an ideological bubble, knows he has failed to deliver.

          Deliver what exactly?

          That leads to my next point. Having been banned for the best part of the last six weeks, I have been able to smell the roses a little more. Weka, you may not be aware of the anger out in the community towards this government.

          This ERP policy has just added fuel to the fire.

          I know lots of people angry with the government, so you'd have to be more specific. Imagine how angry people are going to be when they start losing their houses and jobs because NZ dragged the chain on climate response.

        • Mike the Lefty 3.3.1.3

          Mike Hosking is mostly concerned about what the clean car policies might do to his image. Imagine that people might stop envying him as he roars past in his ultra-expensive petrol guzzling Ferrari and start booing him instead. A blow to his ego that he couldn't take. That's what he's concerned about – himself – and that's what Mike Hosking has always been most concerned about – himself – he couldn't give a rats about ordinary people.

    • Robert Guyton 3.4

      "In my opinion, Labour needs to prepare for the opposition benches next year"

      Your opinions are precious to us, Blade. Please hold the line.

      *elevator music plays…

  4. Scud 4

    The is ERP is a filled with warm fuzzy words & meanings which make people feel they are doing something IRT combating CC, but in reality they are doing 4/5ths of SFA.

    In other words this ERP is a complete load of Bollocks.

    But on the same token, as a Famous Pussian General once said "A half ass plan is better than no plan at all, as a half plan can be made workable at some cost to lives & material".

  5. Binders full of women 5

    Yay!! coal powered EVs. Please Lab-Green.. the population is growing– make some hydro dams ASAP.

    • Graeme 5.1

      Investigation work for Onslow is going ahead now. Expect some announcements in the near future, probably pre-election.

      However the generation boost that Onslow will provide comes form new wind and solar, Onslow being a way of storing that energy for when it is needed, balancing demand with supply.

  6. weka 6

  7. Peter 7

    I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I'm sure on tv news last night I saw Christopher Luxon saying that climate change was simple to sort out.

  8. peter sim 8

    I am bemused, as a denizen of a small(ish) country a very, very long way from once lucrative markets on distant parts of the planet how to cope with climate change.

    Import/export trade globally requires long distance transport systems.

    What fuels the transport systems? Burning hydrocarbons, the by product being CO2.

    The media constantly bray about the woes of the "tourism industry" in NZ.

    All transport shipping globally relies on burning petroleum products.

    Aeroplanes burn thousands of tons petroleum based products high up in our atmosphere.

    Stop burning petroleum is the answer.

    Replace with what?

    I am not sure Christopher Luxon, or his business cronies understand any of that.

    I could be wrong. Maybe the national party rich list has a cunning plan to build sailing ships using pinus radiata as sailing ship masts and spars.

    This planet is destined to become enveloped in carbon dioxide (Putin may change the time line.

    Any existing life forms post human extinctionwill be interesting.

  9. adam 9

    Slightly off topic, but I hope it fits. Feel free to move if not.

    The teal independents in the up coming Australian election, may be the shot in the arm that is needed to help get all these proposals both here and across the ditch across the line.

    Been wondering as ACT are in absolute denial about the effects of climate change, and national are not much better is a conservative teal like movement here just a election cycle away? Or possibly one brewing.

    I know some of the conservatives I speak too are getting upset with the whole lack of progress on this issue.

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