The NZ Gov’t Emission Reduction Plan- on the way to net-zero by 2050.
Waikato District Council Senior Advisor for Climate Action, Rachael Goddard’s reflection and summary of the Emission Reduction Plan 2022-2025:
Last week the Government announced New Zealand’s first Emission Reductions Plan (2022-2025) which contains over 300 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across a broad range of areas, such as transport, energy, building, agriculture, forestry, and waste.
The Emissions Reduction Plan is a comprehensive multi government organisation effort that covers transition, support, living standards, circular economy, Māori perspectives and solutions, innovation, and more.
With a dedicated $2.9 billion budget, there has been a good first effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, areas lacking include business mandates and support to enable tracking and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions with reduction targets. The recommendation by the Climate Commission to phase out fossil fuel vehicles has not been addressed in the Plan as well as addressing transport congestion and health, a ban on new gas connections to homes from 2025, and behaviour change programmes.
When reflecting on the Plan, the terminology used and shifts in language choices need to be considered, particularly when discussing ‘low emission economy’ to encompass a broader ‘low emission society’.
The Government has committed $710 million over four years through the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to accelerate efforts to lower agricultural emissions. Despite this commitment, there are limited considerations on transitioning farming and addressing methane from agriculture to make changes resulting in tangible emissions reductions.
Key Targets of the Emissions Reduction Plan 2022-2025 include:
- Only Zero emission buses from 2025, and entire public transport fleet decarbonised by 2035.
- Low emissions trucks to transport food and other products, cutting freight emissions by 35% by 2035.
- Larger businesses powered by clean, renewable energy generated in New Zealand.
- Reliance on coal phase out. A ban on new low to medium temperature coal boilers and a phase out of existing ones by 2037.
- Climate friendly food and fibre production with new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions.
- Support for native wildlife and forests and pest control.
- Initiatives to support the purchase and lease of low-emission vehicles
- Electric vehicles make up at least 30 percent of the light fleet by 2035.
- Reduce waste going to landfills and more investment in infrastructure allowing most houses to have kerbside food waste collection by 2030.
- Investment in waste infrastructure like composting, organic processing and resource recovery facilities.
- Warmer Kiwi Homes Initiative to support in-home heating and insulation upgrades and standards.
- Continuing the work of the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, backed by the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund.
- All municipal landfills to have gas capture systems by 2026.
- Embedding Te Tiriti and mātauranga Māori into research, science and innovation
- Increasing research and development spending across Aotearoa to 2 percent of GDP by 2030.
Co2e Reduction Targets from the Plan:
- From Transport: 1.7 to 1.9 Mt carbon dioxide equivalent
- From Energy: 2.7 to 6.2 Mt carbon dioxide equivalent
- From Agriculture: 0.3 to 2.7 Mt carbon dioxide equivalent
- From Building and Construction: 0.9 to 1.7 Mt carbon dioxide equivalent
How will it be paid for?
In December, the Government established the Climate Emergency Fund (CERF) with $4.5 billion, which comes from Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) revenue.
(Note Marc Daalder Newsroom: “we need to avoid emitting a collective 114 million tonnes of greenhouse gas over the next 13 years. That's nearly 9 million tonnes a year - or almost 2 million cars each driving 18,500 kilometres taken off the road, every year between now and 2035. The first budget period will see more modest reductions than that while the third will see steeper cuts. Across 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, average annual emissions will need to be lowered by just 2.9 Mt CO2e from where they would otherwise be, according to a Newsroom analysis. By 2031-2035, that reduction will have increased by a factor of five, to 14.7 Mt CO2e).