Maori call for a fundamental and philosophical shift in climate change policy in New Zealand

June 14, 2012

The New Zealand Government primary policy response to climate change has been the introduction of the Emissions Trading System (ETS), a cap and trade systems that places a price on carbon. The last 3 to 4 years the government has introduced the ETS and is currently looking to refine and fine tune the policy settings of the ETS.

Maori have signalled strongly to Government that the time is now right to shift the focus of climate change policy in New Zealand:

The ETS is fast becoming business as usual for many including farmers. The Government’s discussion document sets out a number of amendments to the ETS that will be introduced in 2012.

We support the Government’s approach to refine the ETS policy settings. However, we promote strongly that the Government shift its focus towards the development and introduction of a suite of complimentary measures as we propose above that work in parallel with the ETS towards a holistic response on climate change in line with the issues raised by Iwi/Māori raised in the Regional hui set out later in this document.

Read more here…

The focus with the ETS has been to migrate sectors into the ETS that began with Forestry with Agriculture programmed to enter in 2015. There is growing evidence that as companies and sectors have been introduced and become increasingly familiar with the complexities of the ETS, whereby making it (the ETS) increasingly business as usual. Indeed, Maori have argued that business certainty is vital and that government should ensure they don’t introduce major policy swings.

Given this, it is timely now that Government should hold to the fundamentals of its cap and trade system, (and indeed refine the system) but not spend the next 3 to 5 years on the ETS and now shift its focus on to a suite of new complimentary measures like investment into low emission technologies, renewable energy technologies and more..

What do you think?

 

 

The Government must avoid making short-term knee jerk decisions on climate change – the united call from Iwi/Maori

June 13, 2012

The Crown must avoid making short term knee-jerk decisions around ETS amendments in favour of longer term decisions that consider economic, social, environmental and cultural interests of Iwi/ Māori and indeed all New Zealanders. This is the call from Iwi/Maori across the country as the Government ponders its choices on changes to the country’s central climate change policy instrument – the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Key points from the substantive Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group’s submission to the government are:

  • The Crown must allocate fully the 2nd tranche NZU allocations to Iwi/ Māori and must not underestimate the resolve with Iwi/ Māori should the Crown delay, dilute or delete this allocation;
  • Such an allocation is not only good for Iwi/ Māori but good for all New Zealand, as the proceeds of these units will be reinvested by Māori back into whanau and hapu communities, local and regional economies. And in turn the National economy.;
  • The Crown must not make decisions on amendments to the ETS that are inconsistent with the Treaty of Waitangi and, ensure that Iwi/ Māori do not bear any disproportionate share of any burden as a result of such amendments;
  • The Crown must recognise that the Te Ture Whenua Māori Land Act imposes unique obstacles and costs for Iwi/Māori to effectively participate in the ETS and therefore support efforts to overcome these;
  • The Crown must avoid making short term knee-jerk decisions around ETS amendments in favour of longer term decisions that consider economic, social, environmental and cultural interests of Iwi/ Māori and indeed all New Zealanders; and
  • The ETS should not be the only tool available to the Crown to tackle the challenges of Climate Change. The Crown must begin work on the development and introduction of a broader suite of complementary measures to address the issues raised by Iwi/ Māori.

A total of 47 recommendations are made in the submission that cover immediate and priority issues like allocation of 2nd tranche NZU’s (a $NZ200+ million issue for Iwi/Maori, to longer term issues like community development and sustainability, investment by the Crown with Iwi/Maori into new technology development to adapt to the impacts of climate change, recognition of indigenous forests that act as both carbon sinks and catchments of important flaura and fauna and biodiversity to New Zealand.

The challenge for the Government is that it does not fall into the trap of making short term and knee-jerk decisions that lack environmental integrity that balance off appropriately against the prevailing national and international economic issues.

For a full copy of the Iwi/Maori (Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group) submission, click here – Iwi/Maori Climate Change submission.

What do you think? Tell us below..

 

It’s time to change gear on Climate-change in New Zealand

February 18, 2012

Timing is right now to shift New Zealand's climate change focus..

New Zealand’s formal Climate Change program in the form of it’s all sectors and all gases Emission Trading System (ETS) has now spanned the Helen Clarke led Labour Government, and the current John Key led National Government. This process has been going on now for more 6-7 years where the ETS has evolved and been refined reflecting the two political parties interests and points of emphasis and the mood of key sectors like forestry, agriculture, energy and indeed the mood of the general public.

Predictably the scare – mongers in the initial years vented and resisted any attempts to change their behavior in favor of continuing to pollute our rivers, lands, the sea and certainly the air. If you believed them the world as going to end with the cost of the ETS. The reality is that the cost of the ETS practically on households in the power bill or filling up the car at the gas station has been minuscule with the increase being dwarfed and lost in the normal volatility of energy prices. More forests are now being planted reversing the trend in recent years. This is important.

Climate change is fast becoming business as usual

A strong rallying call coming from key sector groups today is “what we really need is certainty about the rules”. “What we don’t need is any major change in climate change policy direction”. There are more and more examples of groups (foresters and farmers) who are finding and developing new and multiple revenue streams and growing their beyond what they been previously. Maori farmers north of Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast who historically have struggled with the high cost of transport to the Gisborne port and now able to retire marginal sheep and beef farmland, to farm carbon in both exotic and indigenous forests. The added benefit of this new planting is that it resolves some of the most serious soil erosion in New Zealand.

Greater stability internationally

The Durban Agreement on climate change was hard-fought but has bought together all the key players of the world (large and small, developed and developing countries) for the first time ever, accepting there is an urgent need for co-ordinated and united action to combat climate change. Not only is the Durban Agreement ‘landmark’ for the world, it further adds to stability of climate change policy and planning providing greater certainty for key stakeholders around the world and certainly for New Zealand. Australia too is an important part of the mix for New Zealand given its size, proximity and recent decision to move towards formalizing its climate change response plans and programs.

It’s now time to shift the focus from mitigation to adaptation in New Zealand

Irrespective of which Government is in power in New Zealand, action on climate change is becoming business as usual with key stakeholders and businesses now beginning to understand how to navigate this new space and finding new and innovative ways to grow their balance sheets. But growing them in a way that is much more sustainable for their businesses, their communities, the environment and ultimately for the economy.

Its time now for Government especially to shift its focus from where it has been over the last 5 to 7 years on designing and implementing a set of rules in the form of the ETS. In the next few months the Government pass a number of amendments to the ETS intended to make the system deliver more of the good things and reduce or eliminate some of the problems and inefficiencies. This is important. The search for a much more efficient and low cost system must continue.

But it is now time for Government to seriously turn its attention towards investing seriously into a suite of new technology and innovations into farming and agriculture as a priority. Agriculture continues to be the single biggest source of CO2 emissions. Agriculture is facing entry into the ETS. To date there has been little serious attention paid to practically working with farmers to reduce these emissions. Agriculture is a major mart of the New Zealand economy, Government has a critical leadership role to play in the search for new ideas, innovations and technologies.

Renewable energy has to be another key focus especially at the community and household level to further shift the economy away from reliance on fossil fuels. The Government will I am sure argue that they are already involved and engaged in this issue. But they are not, its is only dabbling.

My point here is that what is required is a fundamental and philosophical change in New Zealand’s climate change focus by Government who must play an important leadership role.

What do you think? The time is right!

Waitangi 2012 – the dawn of a new era in Crown – Maori relationships?

February 7, 2012

A watershed moment in Crown - Maori relationships?

Amid the too often media publicised images of distrust and conflict between the Crown and Maori, quietly and in the background more than 60 Maori/Iwi leaders representing the $NZ37 billion Maori economy, sat  together considering the issues confronting each Iwi across the country as well as the major issues confronting all Iwi/maori across the country. These issues included each and all of the following;

  • Constitutional reform;
  • The Treaty of Waitangi and its inclusion (or exclusion) in enabling State Owned entity asset sales;
  • The proposed restructuring of the Ministry of Maori Economic development (Te Puni Kokiri);
  • Child abuse;
  • Health;
  • Education;
  • Science, Innovation and the role of technology to drive sustainable Iwi/Maori development;
  • Economic development and trade; and
  • Climate – change as it relates to the interests of Iwi/Maori.
All very big issues. It was amazing to see both the strong and rational debate on these issues and especially, the very high level of unity across Iwi leaders on the need to seriously confront and deal these issues and firstly by raising these issues directly with Prime Minister John Key and his leading cabinet Ministers.

The Prime Minister reciprocated by acknowledging each and all of these as major issues not only facing Iwi/Maori but indeed facing the New Zealand economy at large and genuinely committing along with his key Ministers to work constructively together on each of these issues in the weeks and months ahead noting that these are major issues and will need some tough decisions made. Decisions that will no doubt require some trade-offs i.e. economic trade-offs against social and environmental trade-offs (and vice-versa).

They key point is a genuine commitment from both sides to work through these issues and challenges together. Again, a real shame that this work does not get reported and portrayed much more publicly by the media who choose to report only the negative and confrontational side of Waitangi Day. This unbalanced reporting only serves to further drive a wedge between Iwi/Maori, Pakeha and indeed the Crown.

What do you think?

The rise of state capitalism! A sustainable (new) business model or not?

January 22, 2012

The spread of a new sort of business in the emerging world will cause increasing problems

With the West in a funk and emerging markets flourishing, the Chinese no longer see state-directed firms as a way-station on the road to liberal capitalism; rather, they see it as a sustainable model. They think they have redesigned capitalism to make it work better, and a growing number of emerging-world leaders agree with them. The Brazilian government, which embraced privatisation in the 1990s, is now interfering with the likes of Vale and Petrobras, and compelling smaller companies to merge to form national champions. South Africa is also flirting with the model.

This development raises two questions. How successful is the model? And what are its consequences—both in, and beyond, emerging markets? Read more ..

The New Zealand Government is heading in the opposite direction

A key platform for the New Zealand Government leading into the general election of 2011 was to follow a systematic program of selling down it’s interests in State Owned Assets (SOE’s) like Mighty river Power and Meridian Energy as a starter. Noting that these assets have performed solidly when measured against the simplistic western and capitalist measures like ROA, ROE, ROI etc.. Given the direction of the emerging country giants like China and other pacific neighbor countries, lets watch this space as New Zealand and emerging country giants follow different paths and assess just which model is the more sustainable.

What do you think?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Iwi welcome Durban Climate-change Agreement

December 19, 2011

Significant economic footprint

With a $NZ37 billion economic footprint representing approximately 20 percent of GNI, Iwi/Maori are rapidly becoming a formidable force within the New Zealand economy. This represents both significant opportunities, and risks and challenges for Maori. With much of this interest concentrated in the primary sector, there is significant risk and exposure to climate change policy and rule development both domestically and internationally to ensure these fast-emerging rules account for the particular interests of Iwi and Maori.

In the lead up to the Durban climate change negotiations in South Africa, through submissions to the Emissions Trading System Review Panel and a series of regional hui, Iwi/Maori have been signaling consistent and strong interest in the development of New Zealand’s climate change policy and linkages to international Kyoto Protocol rules says Dr. Apirana Mahuika, Chairman of the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group…. (read more)

The next 1 to 3 years will be important as we continue to actively participate in the definition of international and refined domestic (ETS) rules like flexible land-use, harvested wood products and NZU allocations, to ensure they do account for the significant interests of Iwi/Maori says Mr. Chris Insley, Climate Change advisor to the Iwi Leadership Group and member of the New Zealand delegation in Durban.

As well, during this period we will expect to see practical emphasis and commitment by government to a range of complimentary measures like those we have seen with the successful home insulation program delivered to Maori living in our hapu communities says Dr. Mahuika.

New Zealand is committing $10’s million into international programs like the Global Research Alliance for Agriculture and the Green Climate Fund. While these initiatives send useful signals from New Zealand internationally, practically they are unlikely to deliver anything meaningful to our Maori farmers facing entry into the ETS says Mr. Insley.

We need to see the same kind of investment into research and technology to find practical low emissions technologies and solutions for our Maori farmers and cleantech products and services arising from our significant sector interests and certainly in the renewable energy sector says Mr. Insley… (read more)

Sustainability

Sustainability (or kaitiakitanga) is a fundamental value driver to Iwi/Maori where things should be done in balance where only so much should be taken such that there remains sufficient to ensure especially natural resources can be sustained in perpetuity for future generations. The development and confirmation of international and domestic climate change rules too are similarly guided by such principles meaning a very strong alignment between a key value driver for Maori and governing climate change rules.

Equity and fairness

The climate change strategy for Iwi Maori is therefore to create and maximize new business development opportunity arising out of the climate change space while concurrently working solidly to minimize risks and exposures through strategic involvement into the shaping of climate change policy to ensure that these rules are equitable to the interests of Iwi/Maori such that that Iwi/Maori do not bear any disproportionate share of the inevitable burden of climate change policy aimed aimed reducing emissions from the NZ economy and indeed, the world.

Tell us what you think..

 

 

Certainty critical to the Climate Change Problem

December 13, 2011

Above all else right now what the world needs more than anything is both:

  • Commitment from the world to act to reduce the effects of global warming with every country committing to act to set targets to reduce CO2 emissions; and
  • Certainty about who is in and who is out and what the rules are going to be.

International

At Durban there was a very real risk that we achieved neither leaving the word to procrastinate about what to do. But we just don’t have the time sitting around for another 20 years (about, since Kyoto was first signed), while emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate.

Doing nothing quite simply was not/is not an option us. For the world!

Yes of course in the day’s, weeks, months and indeed years ahead, the debate will rage on. Was it enough or was it too much?

The fact is we now have something. A place to start where there remains an enormous amount of follow up work to do to interpret at country levels exactly what the Durban agreement means and how it will impact and play out country by country. But at least we have a starting reference point that is committed to by the world at large – developed economies to developing economies, small to large to very large economies. We have far greater certainty.

Stable  Government and domestic policy

The Prime Minister John Key who’s party has been reelected to Government in New Zealand for a further three-year term with the announcement of Hon Dr. Nick Smith and, Hon Tim Groser reconfirmed as Ministers of Environment and Climate Change, and International negotiations on Climate Change respectively.

This can only be a very good thing for New Zealand’s contribution to the international global warming challenge where again this ensures continuity of policy domestically in line with the  new international Durban agreement:

 

Climate Change Ministers Nick Smith and Tim Groser have warmly welcomed the outcome of the UN Climate Change negotiations which concluded successfully in Durban today.

They paid tribute to the leadership provided by the host, South Africa, which paved the way for a truly comprehensive international agreement.

“This agreement meets all the realistic expectations the New Zealand delegation had when it arrived in South Africa two weeks ago,” Mr Groser said.

The agreement:

  • Maintains the legal structure of the existing Kyoto Protocol while improving rules in the treatment of land use and forestry. These changes have environmental integrity and make more sense for New Zealand moving forward;
  • Reinforces commitments made in principle by all major emitters at Cancun last year for the period beyond 2012 to 2020 and thus ensures a far more comprehensive international approach to combating climate change than the very partial coverage a Kyoto deal alone would have secured. At the request of the South African Government, Mr Groser facilitated these negotiations;
  • Crucially, foreshadows a single new international agreement beyond 2020 (the “Durban Platform”) that will bring all major emitters, developed and developing, within a legally binding framework;
  • Unlocked the way forward for the $100 billion Green Climate Fund designed to assist developing countries meet the adaptation and mitigation challenges they face.
Read more here ..

New Zealand has to be in great shape to continue to practically play it’s role in combating global warming given the greater certainty provided by the new Durban agreement.

What do you think?

The planet breathes a huge sigh of relief today

December 11, 2011

UN climate talks agree a legal pact on Global warming

Amid all the dooms-dayers, the UN climate change talks in Durban (South Africa) agreed a pact this morning that for the first time would force all the biggest polluters to take action to slow the pace of global changing.

Conference of the Parties Plenary

Conference of the Parties Plenary

 

The deal follows years of failed attempts to impose legally-binding, international cuts on emerging giants, such as China and India.

The developed world had already accepted formal targets under a first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out at the end of next year, although the United States had never ratified its commitment.

After days of emotional debate, the chairwoman of the United Nations climate talks urged delegates to approve four packages, which have legal force.

“We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come,” South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said.

“We have made history,” she said, bringing the hammer down on more than two weeks of sometimes fractious talks in the South African port of Durban, the longest in two decades of UN climate talks.

The deal was welcomed by Brazil, one of the globe’s emerging economic powers.

“I am relieved we have what we came here to get. We have a robust outcome, an excellent text about a new phase in the international fight against climate change. It clearly points to action,” said Brazil’s climate envoy Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.

The Durban talks had been due to wrap up on Friday, but dragged into a second extra day on Sunday because of disputes over how to phrase the legal commitment.

The European Union pushed for strong wording and the three biggest emitters the United States, China and India resisted.

“We’ve had very intense discussions, we were not happy with reopening the text, but in the spirit of flexibility and accommodation shown by all, we have shown our flexibility, we have agreed to the words you just mentioned and we agree to adopt it,” India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said.

But environmentalists and small island states, which fear they literally could sink under the rising sea levels caused by climate change, have said it is still not strong enough.

Source: The Daily Star

While it is literally only a matter of a couple of hours or so since the negotiations have ended with this new agreement, and the full agreement details understood and interpreted, this has to be a very, very good day to see all the countries of the world step up.

What do you think?

Sustainable development – Renewable energy and clean-tech jobs

December 10, 2011

Changes in renewable energy markets, investments, industries, and policies have been so rapid in recent years that perceptions of the status of renewable energy can lag years behind the reality. This report captures that reality and provides a unique overview of renewable energy worldwide as of early 2011.

Renewables 2011 Global Status Report

In several countries, renewables represent a rapidly growing share of total energy supply, including heat and transport. For example:

  • In the United States, renewable energy accounted for about 10.9% of domestic primary energy production (compared with nuclear’s 11.3%), an increase of 5.6% relative to 2009.
  • China added an estimated 29 GW of grid-connected renewable capacity, for a total of 263 GW, an increase of 12% compared with 2009. Renewables accounted for about 26% of China’s total installed electric capacity, 18% of generation, and more than 9% of final energy consumption in 2010.
  • China now leads in several indicators of market growth: in 2010, it was the top installer of wind turbines and solar thermal systems and was the top hydropower producer. India is fifth worldwide in total existing wind power capacity and is rapidly expanding many forms of rural renewables such as biogas and solar PV. Brazil produces virtually all of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol and has been adding new hydropower, biomass, and wind power plants, as well as solar heating systems.
  • Germany met 11% of its total final energy consumption with renewable sources, which accounted for 16.8% of electricity consumption, 9.8% of heat production (mostly from biomass), and 5.8% of transport fuel consumption. Wind power accounted for nearly 36% of renewable generation, followed by biomass, hydropower, and solar photovoltaics (PV).

Clean energy investment storms to new record in 2010

New investment in clean energy reached $243bn last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics:

  • Investment in small-scale, distributed generation projects surged by 91% last year to $59.6bn, with the dominant element rooftop and other small-scale solar projects, notably in Germany but also in the US, the Czech Republic, Italy and elsewhere.
  • Investment in China was up 30% to $51.1bn in 2010, by far the largest figure for any country. In 2009 Asia and Oceania overtook the Americas, and in 2010 it narrowed the gap further on Europe, Middle East and Africa as the leading region of the world for clean energy investment.
  • Offshore wind finance had another good year in 2010, led by a $1.7bn package to fund the next, 295MW phases of the Thornton Bank offshore wind farm off the coast of Belgium, and a $1bn deal to finance the Borkum West II project in German waters.
  • Research and development spending on clean energy technologies by companies and governments grew to a record level in 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data. Within this, the main constituent was government R&D, which reached $21bn, up from $15.8bn in 2009, while corporate R&D recovered from 2009’s recession-hit figure of $12.8bn, to reach $14.4bn, giving a total for global clean energy R&D of $35.5bn.
Total new investment 2004 to 2010

Total new investment 2004 to 2010

Read more here from Bloomberg New Energy Finance …

Clean-tech jobs

One of the forces propelling renewable energy policies and development is the potential to create new industries and generate new jobs. Jobs from renewables number in the hundreds of thousands in several countries. Globally, there are more than 3.5 million direct jobs in renewable energy industries, about half of them in the biofuels industry, with additional indirect jobs well beyond this figure.

Click here to read the full Renewables 2011 Global Status Report.

The evidence is clear – isn’t it?

 

Tell us what do you think?

 

 


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