Thousands of low-income kiwis will be incentivized to trade their gas consumers for zero-emission electric bicycles and cars as part of New Zealand’s climate change emissions reduction plan.
Jacinda Ardern’s government has allocated $ 515 million for the scrapping and replacement scheme, one of the plan’s many eye-catching measures, released Monday after four years in the works.
There is money to increase native forests, decarbonise, divert organic waste from landfills, and even more bus drivers for the expected public transport boom.
But agriculture and the dairy sector have been spared from heavy work, which sets a roadmap for meeting New Zealand’s international commitments.
Transport emissions are expected to decline by a third over the next decade, with native forest growth helping to offset overall emissions.
‘A turning point in history’
While the prime minister was absent due to COVID-19, a suite of ministers led by Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson outlined an expense of $ 2.6 billion.
Mr. Robertson said it was “a turning point in history”.
“This plan guides every single sector of society and our economy to achieve the long-term goals we’ve seen in the budgets that keep us on track along the way,” he said.
More than $ 1 billion of the new spending will be spent on decarbonising transportation, including the clean car scrapping and replacement program.
This will take 2,500 cars off the road next year and replace them with other cleaner means of transportation for $ 14.5 million.
Low-income families will be targeted in the program, which will increase in 2024.
Only two percent of New Zealand’s cars are low- or zero-emission vehicles, and the government wants to hit 30 percent by 2035, when new dirty vehicles are banned.
Public transportation is heavily featured, with $ 55 million pledged to attract new bus drivers and offer competitive pay.
New Zealand’s buses will all be carbon neutral by 2035.
There is also $ 590 million for decarbonisation projects.
However, the plan is likely not to live up to the hopes of climate advocates.
It fails to give a timeline to phase out coal – which New Zealand imports in spades – and only provides $ 344 million for agriculture, despite the industry contributing about half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Emissions from agriculture, including the highly polluting dairy industry, are expected to be 75% of New Zealand’s emissions profile in a decade.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. sources: AAP
The plan has been foreseen by the Labor government since he took office in 2017, when Ardern called climate change the “nuclear-free time” of her generation, in reference to New Zealand’s fierce anti-nuclear protests of the 1980s. .
In 2019, it passed the Zero Carbon Act to create the independent commission on climate change, which recommends both the “carbon budgets” that the government must meet and plans to do.
The first budget – from 2022 to 2025 – limits greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of carbon dioxide to 72.4 megatonnes per year, a drop of about two megatonnes from the recent average.
The next two budgets will see accelerated change.
61 megatonnes per year are allowed in 2026-2030, followed by 48 megatonnes in 2031-35.
Basically, the National Opposition Party offered budget support, as did the Greens and the Maori Party.
This means that there is no real debate in New Zealand about the extent of the emission reduction, but simply about the path to get there.
Monday’s plan doesn’t include all of the commission’s suggestions on climate change, with the government rejecting the idea of banning new gas connections to homes.