Climate change plan: High-emitting vehicles to be banned, electric vehicle scheme under $4.5 billion plan
Search Driven for for sale
Check out the full Zooming with DRIVEN episode.
Over a third of cars on the road will be electric or hybrid - and high-emitting vehicles will be banned - under a significant plan unveiled by the Government.
The $4.5 billion in funding announced today will help reduce global warming and avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.
It also includes half a billion dollars to help low-income families shift to electric and hybrid vehicles – part of the Government's commitment to ensuring climate action does not further entrench inequality.
The Government's Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), unveiled today, represents one of the most important and ambitious steps Aotearoa has made to do its bit toward tackling a climate crisis fast approaching the symbolic 1.5C threshold and reaching the target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
It seeks to do so first by meeting three emissions budgets initially out to 2035, which have Parliamentary support.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said it was the "most significant day in our country's history on climate action".
The primary focus in the plan is transport, which makes up 17 per cent of total emissions and had increased 76 per cent since 1990.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the plan would "lay the path toward a net-zero future".
"Where more people can purchase electric vehicles (EVs), our towns and cities have world-leading public and active transport infrastructure, our highest emitters have switched to clean and reliable energy, our farmers are growing food in ways that help the climate, and more of our homes are warmer and more affordable to heat."
Asked if the Government had moved fast enough given the immediate threat of climate change, Shaw said it had taken "30 years to get to the start line".
He said we should always go "further and faster" but he was confident in the plan.
Shaw said the plan was based on principles including New Zealand playing its part in the global effort, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and equity, working with nature to address the biodiversity crisis, and all working together to build a more productive and sustainable economy.
The transport sector will get a $1.2 billion boost, including $569m for the Clean Car Upgrade, which will help lower and middle-income households scrap high-emitting vehicles in exchange for electric and hybrid alternatives.
The trial will initially support up to 2500 vehicles.
Shaw said equity was a major focus of the plan and that climate action should not "further entrench inequality."
The long-awaited plan also adopts previously-touted goals of 30 per cent of the light vehicle fleet being zero emissions by 2035, and total driving being cut by a fifth.
These are designed to encourage uptake as at March EVs only accounted for fewer than 40,000 of more than 3.3 million light vehicles on our roads – despite recently-announced measures like new import standards and "feebates" that target polluting vehicles.
By 2035 the Government has also required the entire public transport bus fleet to be zero emissions, with only zero emissions buses entering from 2025.
The plan does not contain any commitment to continue the half-price public transport fares scheme, though Robertson said extending this was "still under review" ahead of the full Budget being released on Thursday.
The plan does indicate support for a congestion charge in Auckland with a decision expected later this year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was a "landmark day" in the transition towards a low-emissions future.
"We've all seen the recent reports on sea level rise and its impact right here in New Zealand. We cannot leave the issue of climate change until it's too late to fix," said Ardern, speaking from isolation due to Covid-19.
Robertson today revealed the Climate Emergency Response Fund, established with $4.5b from Emissions Trading Scheme revenue, and which will fund many of the actions.
The fund will initially have $2.9b over four years.
Shaw said the energy sector was another primary focus, which made up 27 per cent of emissions.
Actions there included new coal boilers to be banned and old ones phased out by 2037.
Just over $650m had been allocated to decarbonising industry over four years until 2026, with another $330m over three years after that.
Funding would also go towards developing an energy strategy and using alternative fuels, such as hydrogen and those derived by biomass.
The final carbon budgets confirmed this month, taking us out to 2035, are roughly similar to what the Climate Commission recommended nearly a year ago, along with what the Government floated in its own draft version of the emissions plan.
Over the first period, out to 2025, the Government wants to keep emissions to around 290 megatonnes of CO2e (MtCO2e) - or slightly under the emissions we've projected.
While the allowance lifts slightly over the second period – that's 305 MtCO2e between 2026 and 2030 – it's still calculated to be about 20 per cent less than what the country pumped into the atmosphere in the five years to 2021.
The third 240 MtCO2e budget, for 2031 to 2035, represents a 35 per cent cut.
- NZ Herald
Watch our chat about this and more on Zooming with DRIVEN episode 88.