08 May 2019 Science Media Centre Expert Reactions: NZ Zero Carbon – NZ now needs policies making new homes Passive House

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, designed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to under 1.5C over the next 30 years, was introduced to New Zealand Parliament on 8th of May, 2019.
Science Media Centre sought expert response:
Associate Professor Ivan Diaz-Rainey, Climate and Energy Finance Group, University of Otago, comments:
“What we need now are policies. Policies that will start putting PV on rooftops despite the howls of protest from the large ‘gentailors’; policies making new homes passive homes; policies ensuring more of us drive EVs and that we don’t import petrol and diesel vehicles that the rest of the world is offloading because they are switching to EVs. The Bill provides a structure for allocating emissions budgets which is very important, but without associated policies those budgets will be embarrassing fictions in the years to come.”
Read more at Science Media Centre.

Comments 1

  1. Targets too low – global emission reductions by 2050 were consistent with scientific result many years ago, current targets for 2030 would be consistent with the timeliness of required reductions, ie the longer you leave to reduce the greater the reduction required. These are neither significant or near term.

    Renewable Energy – a target should be set for the percentage of renewable zero carbon generation, ie wind, solar and hydro (excl thermal sources including geothermal) and a carbon levy placed on non-zero energy generation to drive this change. Revenue raised should be used to incentivise solar installation, net zero sum gain.

    Zero carbon transport – a balance of penalty and incentive should be used focused on areas of dense urban develop to drive the use of electrified public transport as swapping ice vehicles for EVs is no sustainable in the long term as vehicles for individuals consume large quantities of resources. Given the absence of rail or bus services outside cities, an incentive for EV use would make sense as there is no viable electrified form of transport. For buses, trucks, vans and car that are electric suitable infrastructure needs to be put in place, revenue gathered from city fuel sales could also be used to fund this infrastructure. Aviation needs to be included in a penalty and incentive arrangement such that levies on domestic flying could fund an investment in rail between cities.

    Housing and energy efficiency – generating renewable energy when energy demand is high should take second place to investment to reduce demand such as passive House retrofit and for new builds. An acknowledgement by the IPCC that Passive House is an appropriate approach for reduced emissions in construction/building operation needs to be reflected in the NZ building code along with education and compliance checking. An energy efficiency rating system such as adopted by the EU should be introduced along with public education and made mandatory for any sale/purchase of residential and commercial property.

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