New advice from commission on ETS unit limits and price control settings

The Climate Change Commission’s first advice on updating the Emissions Trading Scheme unit limits and price control settings for the next five years was released today, triggering the posting of expert comments from the Science Media Council.

The advice on updating NZ ETS settings will now be delivered annually to the Minister by the Commission.

Under the ETS, businesses that emit carbon must surrender a carbon credit – or unit – for every tonne of pollution they emit.

Commission Chair Rod Carr said confidence in the stability and predictability of the scheme was key to making it effective.

“It needs to be kept up-to-date, so that it aligns with the country’s emissions reductions targets,” Dr Carr says.

“Aligning NZ ETS settings up with our emissions reduction targets will make it easier and cheaper to achieve those goals, and guide us towards a thriving, low emissions, climate resilient economy.”

Compared to current settings, the Commission recommends: Continue reading

Government welcomes Climate Change Commission advice on agricultural pricing system

The Government has welcomed advice from the Climate Change Commission assessing readiness in the agricultural sector for an emissions pricing system while the Science Media Centre has been collecting expert advice on the commission’s report.

This is the second piece of advice from the Climate Change Commission on agricultural emissions pricing, following its report in May on potential assistance to farmers and growers participating in a pricing scheme.

The report released today contains the commission’s advice on the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) plan put forward by a farm-sector partnership on how agricultural emissions should be priced instead of using the Emissions Trading Scheme. Continue reading

ETS proposals show progress on carbon farming issue

The Government’s announcement of consultation on proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in response to concerns about carbon farming has been welcomed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand as an indication of genuine progress on the issue.

The Government is seeking feedback on proposals to achieve better outcomes from afforestation. This includes:

  • excluding exotic forests from the permanent post-1989 category in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS)
  • whether to adjust how carbon accounting applies to forests on remote and marginal to harvest land
  • opportunities for improving incentives for indigenous afforestation.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the proposals are the result of sustained pressure from B+LNZ and other groups, including 50 Shades of Green.

District Councils and Local Government New Zealand have also been calling for urgent action. Continue reading

Govt increases contribution to global climate target

New Zealand will significantly increase its contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change by reducing net greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2030, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today on the eve of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.

Under the Paris Agreement each country adopts an international target known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). This sets out the contribution the country will make towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The updated NDC announced today is expressed as a target to reduce net emissions by 50 per cent below gross 2005 levels by 2030. This equates to a 41 per cent reduction on 2005 levels using what is known as an ‘emissions budget’ approach.

New Zealand’s new NDC is consistent with the recommendations of the independent Climate Change Commission and will make a significant contribution towards international efforts to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Continue reading

Kicking the can on methane

There is a real risk that focusing on methane will mean we take our foot off the accelerator of CO2 reductions – where we’ve traditionally had a pretty poor record, Professor Dave Frame and Dr Adrian Macey contend in article published by Newsroom and republished on the Victoria University of Wellington website.

Dave Frame is Professor of Climate Change and Director of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at the university.

Dr Adrian Macey is an adjunct professor of the Institute and a fellow at the Institut d’études avancées de Nantes, France.

They write:

As 20,000 people get ready to converge on Glasgow for the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), there has been a flurry of reports and media coverage suggesting urgent action to reduce methane emissions is the best thing we can do for the climate right now.

A recent joint United States-European Union pledge on methane, which other countries are being encouraged to join, aims at a 30 percent reduction in methane by 2030. The argument is that because methane is very potent in the short term, reducing it now will give us a big hit on warming, or that it somehow buys time for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2). Continue reading

Government acknowledges carbon farming is not the silver bullet to address climate change

The acknowledgement by the Government that current policies will likely see too much carbon forestry planted, along with the opening up of a conversation for potential limits through the Emissions Trading Sceme, is being welcomed by Beef+Lamb NZ on behalf of sheep and beef farmers.

As AgScience reported yesterday, the Government has released a discussion paper, Transitioning to a low emissions and climate resilient future, which aims to help shape New Zealand’s emissions reduction plan.

B+LNZ says the paper notably contains a slight shift in how the Government is talking about the role of carbon-only exotic forestry in addressing climate change.

“We welcome the Government’s recognition that fossil fuel emissions must be reduced, rather than continually offset, to ensure a fair, equitable, and efficient transition to a low emissions economy,” says Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

“The discussion document indicates any decision on changing the ETS rules would come by the end of 2022. We’re concerned that’s not fast enough given the scale and pace of land conversion happening.

“What we need is urgent action to adjust the ETS to limit the amount of carbon forestry offsets available to fossil fuel emitters. New Zealand is the only country with a regulatory ETS that currently allows 100 percent carbon forestry offsetting. We will be putting forward potential policy solutions as part of this process.” Continue reading

NZ’s warmest June on record – why climate change research is regarded as critical

The June Climate Summary was published today, showing last month was the warmest June on record for the country.

The average temperature was 2.0°C above average, the 13th time this has happened since 1909.

Several records were broken with 24 locations having their warmest June on record.

The highest temperature was 22°C at Hastings on June 26 and Leigh on June 19.

Taranaki is still leading the sunniest location table.

The data were being posted at much the same time as AgResearch Research Director Trevor Stuthridge was describing the recently released advice of the Climate Change Commission as an endorsement of the research being done to support agriculture’s shift to lower emissions.

The Climate Change Commission was established to provide advice to the Government about the paths to meeting New Zealand’s climate change targets. Continue reading

Commission releases “achievable” blueprint for addressing climate change

Agriculture is among the sectors considered vital to a low emissions future for New Zealand in the Climate Change Commission’s blueprint for addressing climate change.  The Commission highlights the importance of further research into reducing agriculture biogenic methane emissions as well as the Government’s work to build the world’s only farm-level emissions measurement, management and pricing system.

The Commission’s final advice sets out the total amount of emissions New Zealand must cut over the next 15 years.

It also provides three different pathways the Government could follow to keep within the proposed emission budgets.

A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office highlights these points: Continue reading

Climate Change Commission delivers final advice to Government

The Climate Change Commission has delivered its advice on how New Zealand can reach its climate target to Minister of Climate Change James Shaw.

The Commission will publish the advice on its website next Wednesday (9 June) once it has been tabled in Parliament.

The Commission can’t comment, provide copies or release the advice until then.

Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr says the Commission has met its obligations under the Climate Change Response Act in delivering the advice. Continue reading

Experts comment on the Climate Commission’s 15-year decarbonisation blueprint

The Climate Change Commission (as we posted yesterday) has outlined its advice on how New Zealand should reshape its economy to mitigate the climate crisis.

The report says current government policies do not put the country on track to meet its 2050 targets.

To achieve those targets, the report sets new emissions targets and recommends a transition to electric vehicles, accelerated renewable energy generation, climate friendly farming practices and more permanent forests, predominantly natives.

The draft proposal will be open for public feedback starting tomorrow until 14 March.

The Science Media Centre asked experts to comment on the report.  Here is the feedback – Continue reading