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Climate Change Launch presentation

The science is clear; climate change is real and as a result we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels by 2050. This is a great challenge for the world, but as a nation we should embrace the opportunity to reduce emissions. After nine years of doing nothing we are slipping behind other countries.

Here is a live recording of the launch of The Opportunites Party Climate change policy with Geoff Simmons.

Our policy in a nutshell

  • Wean our country off fossil fuels by 2050. If we are smart, we can do this in a way that improves our overall prosperity.
  • TOP would ‘dump the junk’ credits held by the government by cancelling surplus credits as at 2020 and ensuring our Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) stays closed to international trade. 
  • Ensure the Emissions Trading Scheme works properly, ploughing all revenue from a higher carbon price into helping households and businesses become more energy efficient, reducing their costs and emissions.
  • Ensure all large new investments take into account our low carbon future.
  • Reforest 1.1m ha of erosion prone land as soon as possible.
  • On agriculture, improving water quality will be our first priority, but this will help reduce nitrous oxide emissions (and possibly methane also). 

You can read the full policy here

Showing 13 reactions

  • Friend
    commented 2017-03-15 23:03:26 +1300
    Never plant What you can’t maintain. As soon as erosion prone land, particularly waterways are fenced off, broom , gorse, old mans bread, blackberry, crack willow and many other undesirable species choke out almost everything and become a flood risk. Some spices actually increase erosion. Forget grand statements of 1.1 million hectares. Start small, put in plenty of prep, loads of after care and monitor results. I spend about 400 hours a year doing river work and am now starting to think that many rivers are not suitable for planting anything larger than grasses and the odd flax.
  • Kate Tyson
    followed this page 2017-03-14 10:32:01 +1300
  • Alistair Newbould
    commented 2017-03-13 21:41:02 +1300
    Mark Trimble. Manuka bush will over time (about the same time as a rotation of “weed” (P radiata, not the other type!)) be over grown by kanuka and need replanting. Manuka honey is of most value (highest UMF) from north of the North Is, other areas make lower UMF containing honey. So not all plain sailing. I’d like to see difficult to harvest areas replanted with kauri as providing a significant carbon store (albeit over a relatively long timeframe). BUT the focus needs to be on making use of this replanting in a low carbon economy -so species which can be used for energy forests, which combined with carbon capture and storage, can be used to recapture carbon.
  • Piri Te Tau
    followed this page 2017-03-12 13:49:12 +1300
  • Oliver Krollmann
    commented 2017-03-11 14:11:38 +1300
    John, it only makes “good” business sense still if you choose to stick to old behaviours when dealing with new technologies – but that’s not how you motivate people to invest in the “feel good” factor, like you did. There is a lot of new stuff to consider with distributed electricity generation from PV-installed homes. First and foremost nobody does it for the 8 cents you get per unit when exporting to the grid – you do it to consume as much as possible yourself to reduce what you import at 30 cents per unit. Then there’s the smoothening effect it will have on the grid if more electricity is consumed where it is generated and less electricity needs to be transported over long distances. And then there’s peer-to-peer business models – my panels create surplus units that you need to run your (hopefully) electric lawnmower, so I’m selling you these units at a better price than 8 cents and you are buying them from me for less than 30 cents, and someone in the middle who brokers this deal gets the difference, for running and maintaining the P2P platform.
    There’s nothing wrong with having to operate in a commercially viable way – but you can’t give the providers a break just because they don’t want to change their business models. They have to adapt and adopt new models that are appropriate for the changed conditions.
    I’m actually not disappointed that there is no government or retailer subsidy in NZ for PV at home – I’ve seen the havoc the Renewable Energy Act has created in Germany. We should be willing to do the right thing anyway, without financial incentives, because it’s common sense. But that means no hurdles or obstacles or resistance to change, either – only then is it a fair game.
    As for your retailer not paying you an import rate anymore – just go ahead and switch. You don’t owe them anything, and no, it’s not good business sense on their part, so they don’t deserve your business. Below is a link to a table with buy back rates as of December 2016. I will soon switch to one of the companies mentioned there, for the same reason.
    https://www.mysolarquotes.co.nz/about-solar-power/residential/solar-power-buy-back-rates-nz/
  • John Hyndman
    commented 2017-03-11 09:50:57 +1300
    Home owners installing PV generation are a thorny problem for electricity generation and lines companies. These companies have to operate in a commercially viable way and they are in the business of selling electricity. Why should they subsidise domicilary PV? It is bad business for them and the only way to make them cooperate is by government legislation. The problem is the government has a lily livered approach to dealing with climate change and politicians will not move until the public demands action.
    This highlights the folly of privitasing the generating/lines companies by Max Bradford’s government 20 years ago. If the government still owned these it would be relatively easy to make the necessary changes to encourage home PV instillation. I installed PV on my roof 3 years ago. At the time I calculated a 7 % return on my investment. Not great but the “feel good” factor made it worthwhile. My electricity company has since decided not to pay for my surplus power that I return to the grid. This is so retrogressive but understandable as their decision makes good business sense.
  • Steve Cox
    commented 2017-03-11 09:33:16 +1300
    I attended a lecture where it was pointed out that NZ has more approved (but unbuilt) electricity generation than would be required if we converted to every vehicle being an electric one.

    On the subject of PV cells on roofs. Three things I’d comment on about them. Firstly there has to be a surety of price when selling into the grid. I’d have the electricity retailer buy that power at the average purchase price of its other electricity – some fixed price and some spot price. This avoids the current situations where you see a fixed price being either excessively high or low depending on what the (overseas) governments attitude is. OK, retailers won’t like this because they would be declaring what their average cost of electricity is, but why shouldn’t we have an open market for electricity.
    Secondly apparently the grid is designed for electricity to flow from A to B. The grid would need to be modified to handle electricity flowing the other way because everyone in a location put PVs on the roof and suddenly the electricity wanted to flow the other way.
    Thirdly you hear the moan about the rich making money off PVs because they can afford them, and the poor get nothing. So what. If enough PV’s go on roofs then overall supply will increase and that might pull down prices. And if over time the number of houses having PVs on the roof becomes significant then at that point who knows whether a “poor” or “rich” family is living in that house.
  • Oliver Krollmann
    commented 2017-03-10 17:38:14 +1300
    Alistair, in my opinion nuclear power should be totally out of the question. We can’t reach our goal to make the world a better place and reverse the environmental sins of the past by burdening the next 2,000 to 3,000 generations with having to look after the nuclear waste we leave behind.
    The transition to electrified transport can be done efficiently, if you include new ways of generating and distributing electricity (which once again requires us to move away from old-fashioned and established business models). Solar panels on many roofs, wind turbines on many farms, and batteries in many garages and sheds will help generate and consume electricity in place and therefore lessen the demand on the electricity grid as well as smoothen it out. I also read somewhere (sorry that I can’t find the source at the moment, will try to locate it again) that a fully electrified vehicle fleet in NZ will increase the demand on the grid by 10%, which it should already be able to handle.
    Distributed generation and peer-to-peer distribution of electricity will be key components in the future. Let’s not continue to think in old-fashioned models of centralised generation and long-distance distribution.
  • Michael Vinsen
    commented 2017-03-10 16:59:15 +1300
    I notice you dont publish dissenting views
  • Alistair Newbould
    commented 2017-03-10 14:33:00 +1300
    Geoff, “plant trees” won’t do it, we need to plant new forests. Not a difference of scale but a difference of carbon cycling. Once a tree is cut down it returns the carbon to the atmosphere, but by maintaining the forest we maintain the same amount of carbon sequestered. So it is the total amount of forest that is important – forest area increasing = carbon credit, decreasing = carbon emission. I know you know this, but many people don’t and “plant trees” becomes an empty catch cry
  • Alistair Newbould
    commented 2017-03-10 14:21:33 +1300
    Key to the policy is transition to electrified transport system. We can save some electricity use from elsewhere but there will come a point (sooner rather than later) when more generation is very likely to be required. Would TOP put modern nuclear power on the table? Or do we follow the plan of Jacobson and Delucchi (https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/JDEnPolicyPt1.pdf)?
  • Alistair Newbould
    commented 2017-03-10 14:05:23 +1300
    This is a great policy document. Most important is a real cap and trade treatment of the emissions trading scheme – no cap on cost of carbon and a progressively shrinking cap on emission. But what is the detail of that shrinking? In order to plan for long term capital purchases business needs to know. I would suggest a 10% reduction annually. This will get us to under 3% of current emissions by 2050 and reflects the “low hanging fruit” concept presented last night. That is, it is relactively easy to save 10% of emissions now – eg ride a bike or take the bus to work 1 day per fortnight, insulation for houses and so on. But this will get progressively more difficult with time. During that time we can develop bigger solutions.
  • John Hyndman
    commented 2017-03-10 11:54:55 +1300
    Excellent! The most imaginative and sensible of all the party policies on offer. Climate Change is becoming a serious concern for voters across the political spectrum. TOPs climate change policy is going to have widespread appeal. 300 turned up to Gareth’s Dunedin meeting. I forsee a ground swell of public opinion embracing this climate change policy document. As the TOP star rises expect increasing media attention. If TOP gets above the 5% threshold in September, it will have far reaching repercussions on the NZ political landscape. In my opinion we are heading for a 7 – 10% share.