Climate Change: What New Zealanders have to change and when

Like it or not, climate change is going to drive significant changes with energy use, transport, travel and food. In other words, to the way we live.

Newshub – Climate Change: What New Zealanders have to change and when

Newshub Nation explores what will be different about how we get our energy, how we get around, how we shop, how we travel and what we eat.

Energy:

The Government has set a target of being 100 percent renewable by 2035. Currently, 82 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources – mainly hydropower.

“We’ve obviously got lots of wood lying around and the problems we had in Tolaga Bay – you can imagine that would have been much better used as a source of energy if we’d had the supply chain set up,” says James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change.

Another potential solution to the storage problem is using renewable sources to produce hydrogen gas, which acts a bit like a battery.

“Hydrogen plants can make a lot of energy at short notice, and that’s a really key capability that we need to push the last bit of coal and gas off the grid and get to 100 percent renewable,” says Katherine Errington, Helen Clark Foundation executive director.

Transport:

Transport accounts for 19 percent of the country’s emissions, mainly because New Zealanders love their cars.

We imported 319,662 light vehicles in 2018. Of that total, just 5,542 or 1.7 percent were electric or hybrid cars according to the Ministry of Transport.

This needs to change and fast. By 2030, the Productivity Commission says 80 percent of NZ vehicle imports need to be electric and by 2050, nearly every vehicle will need to be electric. As at March 2019, electric vehicles (EVs) made up just 0.3 percent of our fleet.

Drive Electric’s Mark Gilbert says the quickest way to get more EVs into the market would be through adjusting the fringe benefit tax, to incentivise businesses to transition their company fleets.

For trucks, trains, ships and planes, green hydrogen offers a potential climate-friendly solution.

Air Travel:

Aviation is one of the trickiest areas to reduce emissions. It currently produces about 859 million tonnes of carbon each year or around two percent of global emissions. However, by 2050 it is expected to emit more than any other sector.

solution put forward by the UK Climate Commission is having industries like aviation pay to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere. It estimates the cost of this at $20b-$40b in the year 2050, with that cost likely passed on to consumers. This means the price of flights will start to increase from 2035 as emission removals are predicted to scale up.

Shopping:

Online shopping can actually be better for the environment than traditional shopping, because it means people aren’t driving their cars to and from the store.

However, US research found online shopping is only better when consumers choose regular delivery rather than express shipping, which creates nearly 30 percent more emissions.

Food:

This is probably the most controversial area to make changes, but with the world’s food system accounting for nearly a quarter of all emissions it is one of the areas we need to adapt.

In New Zealand, agriculture makes up half of our emissions – mainly from livestock burping methane. This gas breaks down in the atmosphere after 12 years, unlike carbon, which can hang around for hundreds of years. However while it is shorter lived, methane is 25 times stronger than carbon when it comes to warming.

“There are ways to try and reduce methane which are being researched – what you feed the animal on, how you breed the animals to produce less methane,” says Ralph Sims.

“But if we can increase the productivity [e.g. more milk from each cow] then that’s a better alternative than having to reduce stock numbers.”

Sims also says that the potential of vegetable protein is something that New Zealand’s agricultural sector should keep an eye on.

The world may change significantly as a result of climate change.

I think there is no doubt how people live will change significantly regardless. Climate change as well as population, resource depletion and pollution will all at least need to be adapted to, one way or another.

Leave a comment

31 Comments

  1. Pink David

     /  2nd June 2019

    “82 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources – mainly hydropower”

    Are the Greens going to support more hydropower given it has been so successful in providing low carbon energy? We could start on more hydro next week.

    “Hydrogen plants can make a lot of energy at short notice, and that’s a really key capability that we need to push the last bit of coal and gas off the grid and get to 100 percent renewable,”

    Interesting. Where is this Hydrogen plant exactly? Last time I checked, you needed energy to produce hydrogen, so relying on it as an energy source seems…well, ignorant of the reality.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd June 2019

      What is wood going to do for CO2 and energy? Seems a bizarre comment.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  2nd June 2019

        If you grow lots of trees, you can burn them down. Because that’s environmental. Makes perfect sense to a member of the Green Party

        Reply
        • Griff.

           /  2nd June 2019

          Yip.
          For wood they are talking about slash.
          That is presently left to rot on the ground.
          Burning it for energy only makes the process of conversion to CO2 quicker
          But it gives us energy we would other wise get from digging up hydrocarbons and burning them.

          Solar and wind could provide energy to make hydrogen.
          As both are intermittent in periods of low demand surplus wind and solar energy could be converted to hydrogen to use in existing thermal plants when demand is high.
          Solar and wind do not have a marginal cost in supplying fuel using any surplus in this way is cost effective use of a resource. Both wind and solar are presently as cheap as coal or gas based energy generation and getting cheaper by the year.

          It is amazing when righties who have no idea managed to comment on topics obviously way outside of their understanding.

          Reply
      • Duker

         /  2nd June 2019

        Its that strange contradiction they have about CO2. The trees remove CO2 and the burning puts it back. Its what they mean by ‘carbon neutral’- well thats the mantra this decade anyway. Expect that to change.
        Other absurdities are the climate modelssoftware use small increases in CO2 concentration to make the major greenhouse gas , water vapour increase too. Guess what we have oceans of water just waiting to turn into ‘vapour’

        Reply
        • Griff.

           /  2nd June 2019

          Duker
          You are denying basic physics mate.
          Water vapor is dependent on temperature .
          That is why your dryer at home heats the air first to dry your clothes.
          It is also why when you breath moist warm air on a cold window it condenses out.
          This stuff is so basic a average kid of six knows it.
          Yet here is you showing your total ignorance in public.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  2nd June 2019

            Glad you are asking about basic physics, remember those schoolroom style basic experiments Bill Nye tried out to show the container with more CO2 heated up faster than the container with just air. ?
            had to fake the result as of course the earths greenhouse doesnt work like that – its more complicated,
            Same goes with water vapour in atmosphere, go to the tropics and see how the water cycle works , dear boy. Hint .it rains which cools it all down.

            Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  2nd June 2019

        Wood is referred to as “Bio-Energy”, because it’s “fresh” and not fossil it’s regarded as “renewable” and offered as a solution for intermittent performance of Solar and wind.

        It’s apparently OK to deforest another country, increase pollution in your own country, all the while you can barely give away your glorious renewable generation.

        The French with their 70% clean, Zero emission nuclear power generation are laughing so hard at the Germans right now.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  2nd June 2019

          the inhabitants of Chernobyl and Fukushika are not…laughing.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  2nd June 2019

            I bet they’re not, even now. I was in Europe at the time of Chernobyl and it affected many people. I can’t remember the details but a lot of fresh veg had to be destroyed.

            I bet that the widows and orphans of the men who went to what sounded like certain death when the nuclear accident happened in Japan (I had forgotten the name of the place) and they (with courage and generosity that is unimaginable) volunteered to fly in and put things right are not laughing, either.

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  2nd June 2019

              “I bet that the widows and orphans of the men who went to what sounded like certain death when the nuclear accident happened in Japan”

              6 men died from radiation at Fukushima.

              15,000 died from the earthquake and tsunami that caused it.

        • Griff.

           /  2nd June 2019

          The French just like the Germans are phasing out their nuclear plants and have no plans to build new ones.
          They have a major issues with dodgy parts cracking due to hydrogen inbrittlement closing plants well before they are supposed to retire.
          Alloytoo has been pushing the same line for years without engaging with the fact that no nuclear would ever get past the NZ Public’s objections.
          Nuclear energy is not even on the table here and never will be.

          Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd June 2019

      “Where is this Hydrogen plant exactly?”

      best way to make hydrogen is from natural gas , they kid everyone about the other method using electricity directly.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd June 2019

        I just remembered that some men (men, of course) had volunteered to fix the problem, knowing that the odds against their surviving this were immense; it was suicide and they did it to stop any more dying. I hadn’t remembered the 15,000 !!!

        Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd June 2019

    Tesla’s cheap electric car costs NZ$80,000. Other makes seem comparable. Farcical to think most businesses can afford that indulgence and neither can the taxpayer.

    Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  2nd June 2019

      According to VW e-Golf savings only start to appear after 5 years ownership, the vehicle is expected to last 11 years or so before it needs a new battery, at which point the vehicle will be scrapped because the replacement battery will no doubt cost more than the car is worth.

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  2nd June 2019

        Tesla’s cheap electric car costs $73,900 plus on road costs .
        It does 14,73 kWh/100 km.
        As most business cars are used only during the day it will cost about 7 cents a kWh off peak to change a fleet. That works out at $1.03 to drive 100 km.
        For comparison a equivalent sized ICE sedan the Camry does 7.9 litres per 100km
        At $2.20 l that is $17.36 per 100km .
        There are no oil changes or mandated servicing for the Tesla.
        For a business the saving in fuel and maintenance will pay for the extra purchase price before you add in higher resale.
        FWIW a comparison to a Camry ignores the considerable performance advantage of even the base model 3.
        0 to 100 in over 10 seconds compered to 0 to 100 in 5.6.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  2nd June 2019

      David can and so can you…you would have received at least that much gummint money since you turned…65.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  2nd June 2019

        I could do all kinds of stupid and wasteful things but I don’t, B, which of course is how most of our businesses operate as well so that they can survive, employ people and serve their customers.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd June 2019

          I don’t have a car, so online shopping is very helpful.If I buy groceries online, I buy in bulk to make it worthwhile. Bliss to have it arriving at the back door and not have to haul it to a taxi and then up to the door myself when it’s a lot of heavy things. The US article can only be applied so far to NZ, of course; the shops here don’t have an express option as far as I know, and as 2-4 business days is standard, I’d see little point in paying more.

          Click and Collect is an excellent option, too.

          I don’t know how much difference cutting down waste makes to the climate, but it’s a good thing to do for its own sake. I will be putting out my second rubbish bag of the year tomorrow; I could have gone longer but some pairs of sneakers that were the same age all wore out at once as did one part of a mat. I cut the good parts into three smaller ones and donated them, but the bad part had to go out.

          Two bags in six months isn’t bad, I think.

          Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  2nd June 2019

    sustainability is the word.. nowhere is zero-tolerance really expected; although some would prefer it (fossil fuel that is). extremism is unworkable.. but lets try to see sense.. eh wot

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd June 2019

      Sustainability is a b.s. word as I’ve noted before since no-one can know what is sustainable in the future.

      Reply
  4. Fighting climate change and resource depletion with electric vehicles is ridiculous. The expansion of an electric vehicle fleet not just here, but on a worldwide scale will just lead to an expansion of mining. Its not even sure that there is enough of the materials to make enough batteries anyway. https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/04/the-dirty-truth-about-green-batteries/ via https://www.facebook.com//ANZACGF/

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  3rd June 2019

      Yes and fossil fuels are forever.
      ROFL
      The resources used in manufacturing a battery can be recovered at end of life and re used indefinitely. We already recover 99% of the lead used in lead acid batteries lithium cells will be no different.
      Fell free to proposes a technology to reuse coal gas or oil once it is burnt .
      Whats that you can not.
      Shows how silly your comment was then.

      Reply
      • you never really understood my point. We have to look for ways to reduce energy use and transport needs not carry on as normal and not just hope renewables will be enough alone to get us out of the predicament we are in. Recycling yes, but at the moment it’s not be taken up by the free market in any way in the scale required, and government’s seem mostly reluctant to act in the way necessary. Additionally much of the technology required isn’t available yet. By the way using words like silly probably reflect more on you than the original commenter, and does you no favours

        Reply

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