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Unthinkable Renationalisation

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, July 21st, 2022 - 57 comments
Categories: assets, climate change, Economy, energy, Environment, Europe, Privatisation, privatisation, science, uncategorized - Tags:

Europe is leading the global fight against climate change by rapidly shifting away from fossil fuels. This now includes fully renationalising energy companies and forced decreases in gas use. What could New Zealand learn?

In the wake of the pandemic, Europe was rocked by disruptions in its energy supply that caused prices to surge – even before the turmoil triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now those forces have combined to put Europe’s energy transition onto something of a wartime footing, testing the limits of an accelerated timeline to adopt new technologies and leaving consumers footing much higher bills.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has driven the continent back towards coal in the short term, but there may have to be warp-speed deployment of green energy this decade.

As of late last month, all EU states will be banned from allowing the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2035. This is on the continent which hosts SEAT, VW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Volvo, Peugeot, BMW, and all the others we have known to grow and love.

Norway, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany have been well underway preparing their car users for this. Others, well, it’s going to be more of a shock.

Over the last fortnight, France and the UK have already renationalised energy companies, ready for greater political oversight from impending massive energy disruption.

The UK government has also started to put in place a windfall tax against petroleum companies.

Germany had signalled that it was ready to renationalise, and then did so.

While the Prime Ministership of Boris Johnson was falling apart, Britain’s government passed a law to fully accelerate their energy security strategy. Once you get past the spin, it’s substantial.

Across Europe there is a simple truth: there just isn’t enough energy to go around anymore. Russia is severely limiting supplies to Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron is grappling with an ageing fleet of nuclear reactors, and a lack of regulatory oversight means British gas and power providers sold cheap energy without considering the return of a commodities supercycle.

Gazprom PJSC is choking exports through all major pipelines to Europe, so there’s real risk European nations won’t be able to store enough up for the next winter season. Putin is driving Germany and other states back to coal in the short term and even an heroic deployment of green energy will not see them through the incoming pain. It will likely be the sternest test of the EU. Screaming consumers can quickly turn into motivated voters that destroy governments.

New Zealand is in the exceedingly fortunate position that its electricity supply is about 88% renewable and for a large part not reliant on foreign fuel to fire its heaters and dehumifiers. Even its key exporter, Fonterra, uses local coal and is getting out of it. Finally.

New Zealand farming is already one of the most carbon efficient in the world, though there’s always room for improvement.

However the truth is that we still use around 46 million barrels of crude oil every year, or on average 1,600 litres per person every year. 46 million barrels would fill the Wellington stadium about 13 times.

With renewable electricity on one hand and oil vulnerability on the other, our total renewable energy stands at 40%, only bettered by Iceland and Norway.

Our key instruments to improve on this vulnerability are still in state hands if we have the plan to use them:

New Zealand still has 51% stakes in Genesis, Mercury, and Meridian. This government is despite political talk a passive shareholder who tends to let the Electricity Authority do their regulatory work rather than be an assertive shareholder.

New Zealand still has 100% ownership of Transpower the main grid supplier and operator. It is unfortunately heavily regulated by the Electricity Authority. The new Chair Dr Keith Turner issued a stark warning on our vulnerability to energy supply just days ago: “We are living on borrowed time“.

Whatever regulatory or political oversight over the actual prices for electricity we suckers have to pay hasn’t worked.

And so to oil. The New Zealand government allowed the sale of Z Energy to Ampol and the shutdown of Marsden Point, so we very much now operate as an Australian branch office for oil and petrol supply and distribution.

Rather than take strong regulatory steps against either fuel or electricity generators, the government has acted to spend several billion subsidising to dampen the fuel spike and extended it to the start of 2023. On international benchmarks New Zealand has below average taxes but the highest fuel price if you take that tax away.

It has also halved public transport prices for the potential 85% of us who live in cities, though it is a hard ask getting us back to pt use in such a pandemic infection state. It also strongly directs its Departments and its contract bidders to buy electric fleets.

New Zealand is in an extraordinarily vulnerable state for transport fuel and it is going to get worse in the next year. The Russia-Ukraine war and its effects continues to destabilise markets, the European continent leads the world on transition, but the electric car shift in New Zealand is coming off a very very low base. New Zealand is 4th in the OECD for car ownership rates and we’re just not set up to change that.

New Zealand is thus getting deliberately more reliant on both oil and electricity but isn’t making the public controls to hasten the shift with any urgency –  particularly when you see EU countries of all political stripe leading the way through energy supply and price spikes.

Surely a Labour government with all the international cache it is ever going to have, could at least follow the lead of governments from Conservative to independent to Social Democrat and take sufficiently strong action that our energy security is assured. Because right now we are one of the least energy secure countries on earth, and the world is energy-scary right now.

57 comments on “Unthinkable Renationalisation ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Putin is driving Germany and other states back to coal in the short term and even an heroic deployment of green energy will not see them through the incoming pain.

    It will be much longer than short-term. The fact is that Germany is a cloudy and relatively windless location. Already they have an installed nameplate of wind energy that is twice their peak consumption – yet over the course of a year the actual generation accounts for barely 23% of their total energy. (I have seen another source that claims this figure is inflated and the real number is closer to 10%.)

    Another way to look at this is the doubling of installed capacity – mostly wind and solar for a miserable gain of 5% total generation:

    Germany's installed capacity for electric generation increased from 121 gigawatts (GW) in 2000 to 218 GW in 2019, an 80% increase, while electricity generation increased only 5% in the same period.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Germany

    At this rate they would need to install 20 times more solar and wind than they already have to run their existing economy on these sources alone. And still doesn't account for what happens when you get two weeks of cold, cloudy and windless weather in winter.

    In reality all of their renewable capacity is just about making up for the nuclear generation they are incomprehensibly closing down. And when the Russian gas finally shuts down – it will be brown coal all the way.

    • Molly 1.1

      Farmers protests across Europe indicate the problems that will be occurring, due to the political class failing to act in a timely and effective manner, and now acting without consideration or mitigation of decisions.

      https://www.firstpost.com/world/explained-why-farmers-protests-that-kicked-off-in-the-netherlands-are-spreading-across-europe-10925091.html

      Foreign waka posted on this the other day, which lead to a good article:

      https://www.newsweek.com/popular-uprising-against-elites-has-gone-global-opinion-1722653

      But while the Dutch people are on the side of the farmers, their elites are behaving much as they did in Canada and the U.S., and not just those in government. Media outlets are refusing to even report the protests, and when they do, they cast the farmers as extremists.

      Why the disconnect? Every reliable poll of European newsrooms from Germany to the Netherlands show that climate change is a much more important topic for journalists than it is for ordinary people. It's not that average citizens don't care about climate change, but that they have the common sense to know that destroying their farm so the government's emission goals can be met in 2030 instead of 2035 will not change the planet's climate.

      After all, the Netherlands accounts for just 0.46 percent of the world's CO2 emissions, and while a further reduction might be desirable, it will not be decisive in combating climate change over the next eight years. It may make the country's elite to feel good about themselves, but it will also result in large parts of the population seeing their living standards decline and their economic existence targeted by the state for ideological reasons.

      There is a malaise in the West currently, where ideological goals are pursued at the expense of the lower middle and working classes. Whether it's truckers in Canada, farmers in the Netherlands, oil and gas companies in the United States, ideology, not science or hard evidence, is dominating the agenda, gratifying the elites while immiserating the working class.

      Ultimately, there is a risk that climate policies will do to Europe what Marxism did to Latin America. A continent with all the conditions for widespread prosperity and a healthy environment will impoverish and ruin itself for ideological reasons.

      In the end, both the people and the climate will be worse off.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        After all, the Netherlands accounts for just 0.46 percent of the world's CO2 emissions, and while a further reduction might be desirable, it will not be decisive in combating climate change over the next eight years.

        In the meantime the nation already responsible for by far the largest fraction of global CO2 emissions, China is still ramping up the build of new coal power stations. In 2021 they built more than half the new coal power stations in the entire world.

        In the face of such mind-boggling hypocrisy I can well understand why Dutch farmers object to being made sacrificial objects in a futile performative ritual to elitist luxury beliefs.

        • Molly 1.1.1.1

          I can't find the link, but there was an article about the concern of many Germans for the expected loss of energy production heading into winter. This manifests also in widespread public support for the farmer protests.

          The familiar disregard of insulated decision makers from the real world impacts of their legislation.

          • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.1

            Your last sentence sums up an age old problem – the elites are the last people to feel the actual impact of their unwise decisions.

            A quick search threw up this article:

            In a new paper, anthropologists examined a broad, global sample of 30 pre-modern societies. They found that when "good" governments—ones that provided goods and services for their people and did not starkly concentrate wealth and power—fell apart, they broke down more intensely than collapsing despotic regimes. And the researchers found a common thread in the collapse of good governments: leaders who undermined and broke from upholding core societal principles, morals, and ideals.

            • Molly 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Good article. Do you think our Western democracies may be at this stage:

              "We noted the potential for failure caused by an internal factor that might have been manageable if properly anticipated," says Richard Blanton, a professor emeritus of anthropology at Purdue University and the study's lead author. "We refer to an inexplicable failure of the principal leadership to uphold values and norms that had long guided the actions of previous leaders, followed by a subsequent loss of citizen confidence in the leadership and government and collapse."

              The failure of adequate checks and balances on leaders and governance also rings true:

              "Our findings provide insights that should be of value in the present, most notably that societies, even ones that are well governed, prosperous, and highly regarded by most citizens, are fragile human constructs that can fail," says Blanton. "In the cases we address, calamity could very likely have been avoided, yet, citizens and state-builders too willingly assumed that their leadership will feel an obligation to do as expected for the benefit of society. Given the failure to anticipate, the kinds of institutional guardrails required to minimize the consequences of moral failure were inadequate."

              But, notes Feinman, learning about what led to societies collapsing in the past can help us make better choices now: "History has a chance to tell us something. That doesn't mean it's going to repeat exactly, but it tends to rhyme. And so that means there are lessons in these situations."

              • RedLogix

                Yes. My belief – and I admit that it is just that – is that while the mistakes from the past should inform us, the human context has changed.

                While pre-industrial societies could rise and fall with usually only a regional impact at most – we are now in a global era where nations are all intimately connected, geographically, economically and socially at least. We cannot assume that exactly the same patterns will repeat.

                But yes I agree – increasingly large fractions of ordinary people everywhere are losing trust in their governing institutions – rightly or wrongly it doesn't matter. There are no signs that anyone in the elites knows how to respond to this, beyond a doubling down on the authoritarianism that created the problem in the first place.

                Lot more I might write to this – but in the interests of keeping to the spirit of Ad's post I'll leave it here.

          • Hanswurst 1.1.1.1.2

            […] the concern of many Germans for the expected loss of energy production heading into winter. This manifests also in widespread public support for the farmer protests.

            News to me. It's true, though, that some of us (my family included) are looking at supplementing the gas heating with electric heaters this winter.

        • satty 1.1.1.2

          This part:

          Netherlands accounts for just 0.46 percent of the world's CO2 emissions

          Is a very convenient excuse for a lot of countries to do nothing. Looking at the emissions by country, for example here: World-o-meter – CO2 Emission by Country, shows that even heavy industrial countries, like Germany, only produce ~2% of global emissions. Around 190 out of 209 countries can claim they don't have to reduce emissions, because they produce "only" 1% of the global emissions or less.

          The top 5 countries – China, US, India, Russia and Japan – have a population significantly over 100 million people and are big global producers of goods and services.

          Another easy excuse is to point to China's emissions: How much of the Chinese emissions are actually linked to products consumed outside China? If the "Western World" is so concerned about China's emissions (and using it as an excuse not to reduce their own CO2 emissions), the best start would be to stop importing any Chinese-produced products, inclusive products that include Chinese-produced parts.

          Maybe Germany, which – if my memory serves correctly – was one of the top three global steel producers, should restart their steel plants and see how the country can continue reducing their emissions…

          • RedLogix 1.1.1.2.1

            I agree – allocating CO2 emissions by country is a fraught business. There are many different ways to look at it, each with their own political meaning.

            However the one very few people consider is Carbon Intensity per Unit GDP. This is the measure of how much carbon you emit for a given amount of wealth generation – and while you can see most developed nations have been improving – China still remains almost twice as bad as the US and way worse than the rest of the world.

            • satty 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Not sure comparing Carbon Intensity based on US dollar GDP is overly meaningful, because China tends to keep the Yuan artificially low, for example see Why is China's currency getting weaker

              I think the "efficient use of energy" would be a better comparison. Something like how much CO2 is produced per kWh and how much can a country produce per kWh (unfortunately, the comparison is done by a currency specific GDP, because that's what's everyone settled on).

              The best "solution" from a consumer perspective would be to have a "carbon tax" on fossil fuel on extraction and pass it through the production / transport process to the consumer (a little bit like GST). So the more efficient use of the fossil fuel would mean the production / transport cost would be lower. Therefore it might be possible for countries with higher labour costs but with more efficient production, to compete with low efficient low labour cost countries.

              But that's probably not going to happen, therefore more polluting countries with cheap labour will continue to have an advantage.

              • RedLogix

                Not sure comparing Carbon Intensity based on US dollar GDP is overly meaningful, because China tends to keep the Yuan artificially low,

                That is a good question and again I can accept that comparisons between nations are not easy, but in this case my second link suggests they have thought of this:

                The source for GDP data is the Maddison Project database. We calculate total GDP by multiplying the Maddison metric of GDP per capita, by total population. You can find our chart with this data here. GDP is measured in constant 2011 international-dollars. This means that it adjusts for price changes over time (inflation) and price differences between countries.

                Your suggestion on CO2 per kWhr is perfectly reasonable, yet given there is a very strong correlation between kWhr and GDP, it pretty much amounts to the same as the measure as I referenced.

                That link immediately above is quite good. Basically it means as long as China, and India to a lesser extent, keep building coal power stations – it really doesn’t matter a shit what the rest of us do.

        • mikesh 1.1.1.3

          In the meantime the nation already responsible for by far the largest fraction of global CO2 emissions, China

          On a per capita basis, surely not.

          • RedLogix 1.1.1.3.1

            In reality China can be thought of as two separate nations; a highly developed and industrialised First World nation consisting of the coastal cities and some of the regions like Sichuan – and a more populous and poorer nation in the interior.

            Most of the industrial CO2 comes from the First world part of China that represents only part of China's population – and on a per capita basis suddenly the numbers don't suit your argument at all.

            Imagine for instance if South Africa was to claim a very low CO2 per capita – by including the population of all it's much poorer, less industrial neighbours – everyone would see the dodge immediately. China gets away with it because most people don't think about how uneven regional development is in that nation.

            But as I suggested above CO2 per capita is just one legit way to allocate CO2 responsibility – but it is not without it's flaws and limitations and certainly does not convey the whole picture.

            • mikesh 1.1.1.3.1.1

              You seem to be suggesting that a large part of China's population should remain impoverished so that Western counties can continue with its high energy consumption. China still has a lot of catching up to do. I think we should cut them some slack by reducing our own consumption.

              • RedLogix

                No I was not suggesting that at all – but given their current terrible CO2 per unit GDP rate, if that impoverished portion of the Chinese population was to become as wealthy as the elite coastal cities – then Chinese CO2 production might rise from 28% of the global total to something close to 50%.

                I am pretty sure you are not advocating for that either.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2

        Media outlets are refusing to even report the protests, and when they do, they cast the farmers as extremists.

        Te Media have an habit of doing that.

        And folks just suck it up and spew it out like gospel.

        • Molly 1.1.2.1

          That's true.

          Been casually following the European protests by links brought up by Twitter.

          • Hanswurst 1.1.2.1.1

            I'd be wary of assuming that following Twitter links leads to less fairyland bias than following the traditional media.

            • Molly 1.1.2.1.1.1

              I follow the links to overseas media on this, because NZ doesn't seem particularly interested.

              But thanks for the tip.

      • joe90 1.1.3

        The Netherlands is smaller than the Canterbury region and farms twice the number of cattle and more than one hundred times as many pigs as Canterbury.

        Dutch farmers are drowning not only their own country but also large parts of low-land Belgium and Germany in ammonia and nitrogen-rich run-off that jiggers lakes, wet lands, water ways and oceans. They're also among the most subsidised farmers on the planet.

        And now they've had the hard-word to clean up their act by reducing stock levels, they don't like it. Poor babies.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Well the Rogernomics Lab. Govt.set up Refining NZ mid 80s–essentially the then 5 main Oil Co.s– which created a vertically integrated petroleum market; importation/refining/distribution, including pipeline to Auck./retail and price setting, all by the same people.

    The oil companies basically had carte blanche to shaft NZ motorists and users, and with their transfer pricing model, profits went back to the parent companies offshore.

    Nationalisation of the industry is the obvious answer. Anywhere in the world such as Indonesia, Mid East or Latin America where there is cheap petrol there is also state/public ownership.

    The oil companies would not like that up ’em.

    and…return power generation and supply to full public ownership and control after booting Rio Tinto–compensation to the natzo created private market depending on them going quietly…

    • tc 2.1

      Here here, Keith turners stating the obvious as we've let the 'market' ream the customer, not provide a resilient enough network (blackouts, insufficient undergrounding of lines, lack of diversity) and it's totally dragged it's heels on extra renewables like wind farms.

      The one that was going from port Waikato down the west coast as one example that went pffft after the 08 election.

      About the same time we lost the 1:1 import export pricing so they game that margin by reselling power they had nothing to do with generating.

      Long overdue for re-nationalisation even without the current energy situation IMO.

  3. Cricklewood 3

    You'd think if the elites wanted to lead by example they'd do something meaningful… like get rid of private jets for example.

    If we did something about the rampant over consumption of the top 1% our resources would go alot further…

  4. Poission 4

    New Zealand is thus getting deliberately more reliant on both oil and electricity but isn’t making the public controls to hasten the shift with any urgency – particularly when you see EU countries of all political stripe leading the way through energy supply and price spikes.

    Spain says Ole and repeats the Merkel Rhetoric back.

    Electricity prices being 25% cheaper in Madrid then Berlin.

    • pat 4.1

      Ouch…that'll learn them (or not)

      • Poission 4.1.1

        Central and northern Europe ( as is the uk) are dependent on fossil fuels for space heating and hot water,both in residential and services such as hospitals.

        IEA electricity update jul 2022.

        Significantly reducing Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels will need a
        deep transformation of the energy system, including greater use of
        renewable energy and electrification of more energy end uses.
        Developing flexibility options will be key to a successful transition.
        Depending on how it is done, decarbonising the space heating
        sector could turn out to be a blessing or a curse.

        Space heating accounts for a large share of total energy demand in
        Europe, at over 60% of total residential and almost one-third of total
        services sector energy use in 2020. In turn, space heating
        accounted for over half of CO 2 emissions in the residential and more
        than one-quarter in the services sector

        A substantive amount of housing is not efficient for substitution to heat pumps which require better property insulation.

        Due to their technical characteristics (higher efficiency with lower
        heat generation), heat pumps are best suited for well-insulated
        buildings. However, many existing buildings in Europe were built
        without significant energy efficiency requirements in place. Various
        studies show that the current building envelope renovation rate of
        1.3% (with below 1% primary energy reduction) must be expanded
        to 2% to 4% to reach long-term decarbonisation targets.

        So there is a need for both increased renewable,greater energy savings,more housing efficiency,a higher rate for energy subsidy for voters, (Germany will need to triple from 43b Euro last year) all funded by debt.

        • pat 4.1.1.1

          The most critical thing needed is the one thing we cannot produce or modify….time

          • Poission 4.1.1.1.1

            Time is relevant,it seems more imperative to the on demand generation with short term goals,rather then those who see the same errors being repeated eg.Boom-bust-boom rinse repeat.

            • pat 4.1.1.1.1.1

              They thought they had tamed the business cycle…they only delayed it and increased its intensity.

              • Poission

                Whilst trying to overt a business downturn following covid,they increased the risk of sensitivity to shocks (where all contractions of the same sign ) return to a nearby position (hookes law of elasticity) Housing intervention by the government being a good example,of wanting to sustain high costs.

                In the energy sector we have 2 distinct areas,liquid (mostly for transportation) and energy for production and electrical generation .Looking at the electricity sector which is not at risk from overseas supply shocks it has been significantly stable over the last decade.

                2010 Generation 43540 gwh

                2021 Generation 43112 gwh

                The change in the generation mix has been a substitution from gas to wind and geothermal and renewables from 74.3-82%

                Consumption has decreased in Agriculture and manufacturing, and increased in commercial and residential.

                Generation loss has increased in HCDC (1.3 %) and decreased in local distribution by 4.6% (mostly due to solar and substation upgrades) the savings in local distribution loss are around 200 gwh.

                • pat

                  Electricity consumption has decreased from Ag?…that is a surprise…over what period?

                  • Poission

                    Peaked 2015,lots of efficiency gains have been introduced (as have manufacturing)

                    • pat

                      Would have picked a later peak than 2015…maybe 2017/18 for dairy conversions, which are energy intensive….but then there was a bit of back peddling around then.

                    • Poission

                      Irrigation is the big user there ,but seasonal,and during winter the use in some areas is for winter hydro (rakaia)

                      Agriculture (and processing) is seasonal dependent which frees up a lot of energy capacity for domestic and service heating etc,without a large demand (and price) spike.

                      A lot of the conversions had new technology upgrades( chilling etc) which would have reduced the unit volume use.

                    • pat

                      There is another (potentially) significant factor to be considered with dairy conversions…housing. The labour units on dairy are considerably higher than the previous activities and most is resident…there is also a considerable increase in support activity facilitated by the increased farm revenue.

                    • Poission

                      True.Increased rural population growth is a big issue with demand forecasting in rural/provincial centres.

                      A good example was the under investment in Southland hospital build which was designed with a population decrease forecast.

                      The subsequent job/and hence population demand was inverse to the forecast hence the hospital was undersized and underfunded from completion.

        • Incognito 4.1.1.2

          Where is your link?

          • Poission 4.1.1.2.1

            Thought it was on there.

    • Bearded Git 4.2

      Los españoles tienen que luchar su esquina.

      • Chris 4.2.1

        Sí, eso es cierto, pero ningún país es una isla en todos los sentidos.

        • Bearded Git 4.2.1.1

          Cierto. Hablas muy bien senor.

          • Chris 4.2.1.1.1

            Gracias, pero debo admitir que mi español es pobre y he usado un traductor en línea para responder a sus comentarios, incluido este. Entonces, a eso, debo decir que es probable que tu español sea mucho más avanzado que el mío.

  5. weka 5

    Very good Ad.

  6. RedLogix 6

    Ad

    Good post mate. Your final sentence nails it. As far as transport fuels are concerned NZ is at the long thin end of a supply chain starting in the Persian Gulf. There are so many things that could go wrong with this it is hard to know where to start.

    The problem is far too many people thinking that sooner or later the conditions of 2019 will return and security of supply will be 'normal' again. Well that is not going to happen – that world is gone and not coming back anytime soon.

    • Ad 6.1

      Thanks it was Poisson and a couple of others yesterday who provoked me out of quick sentences into actual writing.

      Dr Turner is an old crustie with a singular focus on his pumped hydro scheme, but you've got to heed the old crusties.

      We seriously need historical memory in Wellington and in Canberra for energy futures right now.

      • Poission 6.1.1

        Transpower has to make a lot of assumptions with its demand forecast model,such as new demands from EV or data processing centres which change on the whim of a political initiative.

        EV (home charging) could change demand issues if they could be managed by the local distributer say,with overnight differential rates (similar to HW)

  7. RedLogix 7

    Speaking of climate change – as I type sitting here at home in Brisbane the weather is so cold, wet and miserable I have a hot water bottle under my jacket.

    Figure that!

  8. Maurice 8

    "at the long thin end of a supply chain starting in the Persian Gulf"

    A considerable proportion of our transport fuel comes via Singapore, Japan and Korea and some of that supply chain still starts in ……. Russia (surprise!).

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/128409194/russian-oil-could-still-be-finding-its-way-to-nz-in-imported-petrol-and-diesel

    "The switch away from importing and refining crude oil appears to have complicated the task of ensuring the supply chain is clean of Russian oil."

    “As refineries source their crude from a number of different markets, the Government has limited visibility of all the inputs in the finished refined product,” she said. (Megan Woods)

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    Although reversing the egregious theft of NZ's generation resources is long overdue, I'm not sure it's the best or fastest climate mitigation strategy.

    Planting redwoods or kauri promises to sequester carbon while producing a resource so valuable burning it is not on the radar. And kauri cope well with higher temperatures – brown coal remnants from Central Otago show the region was once heavily forested – with kauri.

    An even faster route (which I have advocated here before) is re-establishing our kelp forests. Grows incredibly fast. A keystone species that also enhances our chronically mismanaged and thus declining fisheries.

    Even Buddha advised tree planting. It doesn't require rare minerals, just space, and sometimes a little care.

  10. Christine Rose 10

    The trope that NZ farmer's are the most carbon efficient in the world is not accurate, and the DairyNZ research which that claim was based on has been updated, showing we are in the middle of the international pack. The original calculations also excluded process heat and transport.

    Also, the Netherland's livestock reductions aren't because of GHG emissions but because of nitrate pollution to waterways. There are real limits to intensive agriculture, and contaminated freshwater is a clear indicator – as New Zealanders should also be aware. These rules won't just affect the Netherlands either, but are EU wide and we will see more changes to come. We can't just keep pumping this toxic waste into the environment and think it's ok, because it's farmers.

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