Public input into ‘net zero emissions by 2050’

James Shaw and the Green Party are encouraging public input into what can be done to address climate change:


Consultation is underway

We’re already seeing the impacts of climate change and it’s not just an environmental issue – there are social and economic implications too.

You have a part to play in deciding how New Zealand responds to climate change. The Zero Carbon Bill will set the long term commitment to transition us to a low-emission, climate resilient economy.

For information about our specific proposals for the Zero Carbon Bill read the discussion document Our Climate Your Say. Consultation on the Bill runs until 5pm 19 July.

Ardern belatedly fronting up on oil and gas in Taranaki

On April 12 the Government announced that there would be no more oil and gas explorations issued – No more offshore oil permits, existing permits remain.

The Government was immediately criticised for a lack of consultation prior to the announcement, and the lack of details about how ‘transition’ from oil and gas might work.

Andrew Little was quickly sent to a meeting in New Plymouth to try to do some damage control in a region that relies heavily on the oil and gas industry.

The lack of consultation was raised again in Parliament yesterday. When questioned Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods said there had been “there were very strong signals” – but that isn’t consultation.

Jonathan Young: When she described ending new offshore permits as a “planned, measured and careful transition … towards renewable energy”, did she actually tell anyone in the petroleum industry her plan to ban new offshore permits, prior to 12 April?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a question that has been asked in this House and responded to in this House previously. What we have been very clear on is that both the Prime Minister and myself made very clear comments around the future of offshore drilling prior to 12 April. Indeed, two weeks before making that announcement, I went to the Petroleum Conference and gave a speech reassuring the sector that the changes coming would not affect their existing permits.

Jonathan Young: Did she actually tell anyone in the petroleum industry prior to 12 April that she was planning to ban new offshore permits?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As I just answered in the previous question, there were very strong signals. But we made an announcement; that was the point at which we told people in the petroleum sector. As that member knows, members of the sector received phone calls from myself, several colleagues, and officials the night before the announcement was made.

Phone calls the night before a planned announcement is not great consultation either.

Today prime Minister Ardern will meet with the oil and gas industry for the first time since the announcement.

Newstalk ZB: PM to meet with oil industry for first time since ban

The Prime Minister is heading to New Plymouth today to meet with representatives from the oil and gas industry.

It’s the first time she’s been to the region since the Government banned on any future offshore exploration permits.

Jacinda Ardern says the focus of her meetings today will be on what needs to be done to help the industry transition.

“There are decades left of work and exploration in this industry. What we need to think about is what happens in the 30 years after that, and that’s why we’re going to Taranaki to talk about that.”

The industry has been very critical, saying they weren’t properly consulted by the Government, but Ardern maintains that’s not the case.

“There have been changes in this industry for some time and anyone who listened to what we’d been saying about there not being a future for fossil fuels would not have been surprised by this move at all.”

Ardern and the Government have said quite a few things that they haven’t followed through on, or have deferred. They have cited the demands of being in a coalition as a reason for dropping or watering down some policies.

It looks like Ardern rushed into the oil and gas announcement to use as show piece action ahead of a trip to Europe, but she should have done far better in New Zealand, especially in Taranaki.

There will be pressure on Ardern today to assure the oil and gas industry that consultation on transition plans – if they have any plans of substance – will be given a far greater priority than sending signals via the media.

No cost analysis, no consultation, no idea on oil and gas ban

Minister of Energy Megan Woods has said she isn’t aware of any cost-benefit analysis before the decision to ban future oil and gas exploration permits, no formal consultation was undertaken with the Petroloeum Exploration Association, and the impact on the price of gas was not considered.

And alarmingly, no estimates were made on whether global greenhouse gas emissions will fall as a result of the decision.

Newshub: Government did no cost-benefit analysis on oil and gas ban

The decision to ban future oil and gas exploration was made without a cost benefit analysis to back it up, Newshub can reveal.

It’s one of a number of admissions revealed in parliamentary written questions pointing to a lack of evidence behind the decision.

“I am not aware of a cost-benefit analysis using the Treasury’s CBAx tool being undertaken in relation to the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits,” Megan Woods said.

Dr Woods’ office told Newshub officials did not think it was appropriate to use the Treasury tool in this case as there were too many unknowns about how much gas and oil was actually out there.

“Searching for petroleum offshore is a low probability of success event but high impact if found, so trying to model the costs and benefits in a traditional option analysis spreadsheet would have required substantial assumptions to be made,” a spokesperson for the minister said.

So they just decided to do it regardless of possible costs and effects.

The Energy Minister has also admitted no formal consultation with the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) took place.

“No formal consultation was undertaken with PEPANZ in relation to the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits. However, I have spoken publicly about the Government’s direction to transition away from fossil fuels and my office has had open dialogue with PEPANZ before this announcement.”

Woods has just been to meet producers in New Plymouth this week.

“No specific estimate has been provided to me on the price impact on gas of the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits. Officials have advised that gas prices have risen in the past when the supply of gas has been constrained,” Dr Woods said.

No concerns about adverse effects of the decision.

There’s also been no estimates on whether global greenhouse gas emissions will fall as a result of the decision.

“No specific estimate has been provided to me. I have been advised by officials that the effect on global emissions depends on the response of New Zealand’s large gas users.”

And it seems that there was little or no interest in whether the ban would be effective or not.

It looks like this is a rushed ideological decision rather than evidence based.

And it looks negligent.

Consultation before drafting Zero Carbon Act

A Zero Carbon Act commitment to “pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government” as”the single most important thing we can do” is being slowed down by taking it to public consultation for about a year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced there will be consultation before drafting a Zero Carbon Act, despite Labour having this goal in their Taking action in our first 100 days plan.

  • Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission

This is from the Labour-Green Confidence & Supply Agreement:

Sustainable Economy

Adopt and make progress towards the goal of a Net Zero Emissions Economy by 2050,
with a particular focus on policy development and initiatives in transport and urban form,
energy and primary industries in accordance with milestones to be set by an independent
Climate Commission and with a focus on establishing Just Transitions for exposed regions
and industries.

a. Introduce a Zero Carbon Act and establish an independent Climate Commission
b. All new legislation will have a climate impact assessment analysis.
c. A comprehensive set of environmental, social and economic sustainability
indicators will be developed.
d. A new cross-agency climate change board of public sector CEOs will be
established.

But this will go to public consultation before the Zero Carbon Bill will be introduced in October 2018 – and that will also include normal consultation as a part of the Bill process.

Consultation is a good thing, but I would have thought that the Greens in particular and also Labour would have been doing some consultation before putting such a high priority on Zero Carbon goals.

Stuff: Government to consult before drafting ‘Zero Carbon Act’ to reduce emissions

The Government will go to the nation to consult on what targets should form the basis of a Zero Carbon Act.

It means legislation will not be introduced this year, as the Government looks to consult over next year before it’s drafted. An “interim” Climate Change commission will be set up, to begin setting New Zealand on a course to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the first step toward establishing New Zealand as a carbon-neutral nation alongside Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

Cabinet agreed to a process of consultation in 2018, before the Zero Carbon Bill was introduced in October.

Ardern said consultation would begin from May next year. It was in the Government’s “100-day plan” to set the carbon zero goal, and Ardern said it had been achieved with the “bare bones” announcement, but a lot of work still needed to be carried out.

So Labour and the Greens made major commitments and promises on Zero Carbon goals but now say a lot of work still needed to be carried out.

I presume this slow down is Labour’s doing, given what the greens committed to in the election campaign:

Greens commit to Zero Carbon Act in first 100 days

The Green Party announced today it will seek to pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government. Green Party leader James Shaw made the commitment to a Zero Carbon Act on Newshub’s The Nation debate this morning.

“If we are to treat climate change like our generation’s nuclear free moment, we need to back that up in law”, said Green Party leader James Shaw.

“Successive governments have allowed New Zealand’s climate pollution to keep growing. Only the Greens have a plan to turn that around.

“A Zero Carbon Act will provide an anchor for government action on climate change and drive decisions across the economy to make sure New Zealand is doing its fair share to keep global warming under 2 degrees.

“The Act will mean that climate targets are legally binding, and the Government will be obliged to have a detailed plan about exactly how it will meet those targets, detail that has been desperately missing under National.

“This is what real action on climate change looks like.

“Reducing pollution will mean investing to create a better New Zealand. It means investing in fast, electric and clean light rail in our cities, in warm insulated, energy efficient housing, in solar energy and cheaper electricity.

“This is the single most important thing we can do to ensure that we are protecting the health of our climate, and of our country, for future generations,” said Mr Shaw.

From “the single most important thing we can do” and “seek to pass binding climate change legislation in the first 100 days in Government” to consultation and a delay of about a year.

The single most important thing the Greens seem to have learned is that being a small party in Government can involve major compromises.

However this should come as no surprise as the change in urgency was signalled by Shaw last month.

Newshub: Zero Carbon Act to give businesses ‘a pathway’ to investment 

Mr Shaw, who has taken up the role of Climate Change Minister in the new Government, is set to announce the finer details of the Zero Carbon Act in the next few months.

He told The AM Show the targets will be unveiled in the new Government’s first 100 days, and enshrined in law at some point in 2018.

“We’re very keen [to get environmental targets into law], and in fact all three parties of this Government have the idea that there will be a binding target to become carbon-neutral by the year 2050,” he said.

“The actual legislation will come through next year. We want to do a good job of it, so we need to make sure we consult widely and so on, but we are going to introduce the target in our first 100 days.”

What if consultation shows that the target they set in their first 100 days is unrealistic?

UPDATE: Russel Norman us speaking of the urgency in taking action on RNZ right now.