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

Govt’s seeks feedback on blueprint for adapting to a warmer world

New Zealanders can have their say from today on a proposed National Adaptation Plan to help communities across the country adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Reforming resource management, bringing in laws to support managed retreat, and updating how the government handles emergencies are among the top priorities in the draft plan.

The plan aims at bringing down emissions and helping prevent the worst effects of climate change, but must also support communities already being hit by more extreme and more frequent weather events, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said.

Central Government does not bear all the costs under the proposal.  The consultation asks how best to share risks and costs between property and asset owners, insurers, banks and local government as well.

It also asks for views on managed retreat and flood insurance, to ensure a joined-up approach to climate change adaptation. Continue reading

Why the agriculture sector should brace for action to curb greenhouse gas emissions

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says the just-published Greenhouse Gas Inventory, from the Ministry for the Environment, underlines the case for accelerated action to reduce emissions.

The report shows that the 2020 lockdowns had an impact on emissions. Gross emissions were down by 3 per cent between 2019 and 2020, mainly driven by less travel by road, air and sea, and reduced fuel use for manufacturing.

From 1990 to 2020 gross emissions have increased by 21 per cent.

The report clearly shows where New Zealand’s emissions are coming from and – by implication – the biggest opportunities to reduce them.

These include methane emissions from agriculture and carbon emissions from transport. Continue reading

Experts comment on latest international report on climate change – NZ Minister says Govt will be equal to the science

Human-induced climate change is already affecting weather and climate extremes across the globe, according to the latest report from Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The evidence has strengthened – not only in the observed changes in heatwaves, heavy rains, and drought extremes, but also in their attribution to human influence, since the panel’s previous report, published in 2013.

The report has been written by thousands of scientists and reviewers from more than 100 countries, including New Zealand.

The findings provide the starkest warning yet of the risk facing our children, our planet, and future generations, unless urgent action is taken, this country’s Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, said in a statement in response to the report.

The Minister said a collective effort involving every sector of the economy, every community, and almost every government agency and their Minister will be needed to avert a climate crisis.

“Right now, Ministers and agencies are discussing what action they will take to bring down emissions in their sector, which will form the basis of our forthcoming Emission Reduction Plan. We must use this chance to review progress and make sure the actions we are committing to will cut emissions in line with what the latest science requires. Anything less will not be enough.

“The findings of the IPCC reaffirm those of the Climate Change Commission and confirm why this Government is right to prioritise climate action.”  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

New risk assessment report identifies 43 climate change risks with big implications for NZ

The release of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment provided Environment Minister James Shaw with a platform to bat for the Government’s programme to tackle climate change.  He said the report shows that “the progress the  Government has made to solve the climate crisis is essential to creating cleaner and safer communities across New Zealand”.

Because of this report’s findings, he said,

” … we can see clearer than ever that the action our Government is taking to reduce emissions is essential for making sure we pass on a safer planet to our children and grandchildren.” 

The Risk Assessment outlines for the first time the significant environmental, social and economic risks New Zealand faces as a consequence of climate change.

The National Climate Change Risk Assessment identifies 43 risks that could have a major or extreme consequence to New Zealand. Continue reading

Govt announces programme aimed at cleaning up NZ rivers and lakes

    • Setting higher health standards at swimming spots
    • Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams
    • Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots
    • Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health
    • Ensuring faster council planning
    • Requiring mandatory and enforceable farm environment plans
    • These actions will be supported by $700m of funding


Committed to clean up the country’s waterways, the Government today announced a package intended to  create jobs and benefit the value of New Zealand’s agriculture exports and tourism attractions.

Primary sector and other groups will be financially assisted with the implementation of the new clean water standards through a $700 million fund that will create jobs in riparian and wetland planting, removing sediments and other initiatives to prevent farm run off entering waterways.

Environment Minister David Parker said many of New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and wetlands are under serious threat after years of decline and political inaction.

“If we don’t start cleaning up our water now they will get worse, become more expensive to fix and we risk serious damage to our international clean green reputation,” he said. Continue reading

James Shaw and GM technologies – the debate is about trade (he said), not about science

Climate Change Minister James Shaw told Parliament this week he supports the use of all scientific technologies to tackle climate change “that do not themselves also cause harm in other ways”.

He was being questioned by National’s science spokeswoman, Dr Parmjeet Parmar, who was aiming to tease out his position on genetic modification.

Just because something is scientifically possible doesn’t always make it a good idea, he said.

There could be economic or brand risks or ethical risks.

He referenced dicyandiamide (DCD), which was added to milk, then had huge consequences in important export markets. Continue reading

Research funding to provide help for farmers to meet climate challenges

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says a slew of new research projects will boost New Zealand’s world-leading efforts to help farmers understand and mitigate the effects of climate change.

The Government wanted to support the many farmers who were quietly introducing more sustainable on-farm practices, Mr O’Connor said.

“New Zealand is a world leader of research to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector. The latest projects will help researchers, government and farmers better understand and adapt to the effects of climate change.”

The $1.56 million for eight new projects, to be provided through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme, include: Continue reading

Government welcomes Danone investment in carbon neutral plant

The Government has welcomed Danone’s announcement today of a $40 million investment into making its Balclutha milk powder plant carbon neutral.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said it’s encouraging that companies are willing to make this kind of investment.

“It’s really good to know that there are alternative low emission options for processing in the agriculture sector. This announcement today comes off the back of Fonterra’s decision a few weeks ago to move away from using coal. We’ll commit to working with players like this.

“It’s not just farmers who have a role to play, processors are also part of the solution and it’s really heartening to see companies starting to step up and acknowledge the part they need to play in tackling climate change”.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says this is another demonstration of how the Government’s programme of action around climate change is providing the incentives people have been looking for to do what they can to address global warming.

From clean car discounts on low emission vehicles, to $14 billion investment on public transport and other clean travel options, to supporting farmers to manage, measure and reduce agricultural greenhouse gases, New Zealanders could see the future is in sustainable low emissions choices “and they’re now making those choices,” Mr Shaw said.

Source:  Ministers of Agriculture and Climate Change