Renwick on NZ’s 11% cut: follow us down the path to catastrophe

RenwickThis guest post is by Carbon News editor Adelia Hallett, published with permission.

New Zealand will face droughts, floods, fires, social upheaval and catastrophic global economic damage if the world follows the country’s lead on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, says one of our leading climate experts. Dr James Renwick – Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria University, an International Panel on Climate Change lead author, and formerly a principal scientist at the National Institute on Water and Atmosphere – says that cutting emissions at the rate that New Zealand proposes would lead to at least 3 degrees of warming by the end of the century.

That’s warmer than at any time in the history of human agriculture and settlement, which started around 10,000 years ago.

The Government announced on Tuesday that New Zealand would go to international climate change negotiations in Paris later this year with a post-2020 emissions reduction target (known as an Intended Nationally Determined Commitment, or INDC) of 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. That’s the same as 11.2 per cent below 1990 levels. New Zealand also has a target of halving emissions on 1990 levels by 2050.
Continue reading “Renwick on NZ’s 11% cut: follow us down the path to catastrophe”

Carbon News 15/12/14: smoke and mirrors


English goes silent on carbon deficit costs


The Government is refusing to discuss what impact a 2030 carbon deficit will have on the economy – despite warnings from Treasury. Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed to Carbon News that Treasury is predicting carbon prices of between $10 and $165 a tonne between 2021 and 2030, but he has not answered questions on what that will cost New Zealand.


Climate expert: It’s all smoke and mirrors, Mr Groser


New Zealand is using smoke and mirrors to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, when it could get there by using clean heating and transport technologies, says one of our leading scientists. Climate Change Minister Tim Groser told Radio New Zealand National this morning that while New Zealand faced some big hurdles in cutting emissions, the country was on target to meet its pledge to cut emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.


Climate talks off on the rocky road to Paris


A deal struck in Lima between 196 nations today leaves open the possibility of saving the planet from dangerous overheating. But its critics say the prospects of success are now slim.


Fossil fuel probe under way as NZ goes exploring


New Zealand is expanding oil and gas exploration at the same time as Britain probes the likely cost of stranded fossil-fuel assets. Continue reading “Carbon News 15/12/14: smoke and mirrors”

Carbon News 8/12/14: NZ’s multi-billion carbon blowout

We’re facing a $3b carbon crisis … and it could be worse

New Zealand has a $3 billion carbon headache looming – and Treasury says that’s the conservative estimate. Carbon emissions in the period 2021 to 2030 could cost the country as much as $52 billion. Official briefings to the incoming Government acknowledge that the costs of meeting emissions reductions targets after 2020 were likely to rise significantly because “our emissions are forecast to increase and carbon prices are likely to be higher”.

The country needs a carbon budget, says pressure group

A climate change lobby group is calling for a national carbon budget and legally binding emissions reduction targets. The Sustainability Council’s paper comes as it releases figures showing New Zealand is facing a carbon liability of between $3 billion and $52 billion by 2030. Drawing on Government documents and its own work, the research and advocacy trust paints a picture of a country running a creative carbon accounting process, in which carbon liabilities have been shunted off to a time when carbon prices are predicted to be much higher.

Groser has a cunning plan (but he won’t say what it is)

Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says New Zealand will “push the envelope” on post-2020 emissions reductions. But he still won’t say what that means. New Zealand has to announce its 2021-2030 emissions reduction target before the negotiations for a new international climate treaty in Paris late next year. Groser, who is now in Lima for UN climate talks, told TV’s The Nation at the weekend that the target didn’t have to be settled until the middle of next year.

Ocean heat drives surge to global warming record

It’s official, even though it won’t be conclusive for a few months yet: if present trends continue, 2014 will be one of the hottest years on record − and quite possibly the hottest of them all. Continue reading “Carbon News 8/12/14: NZ’s multi-billion carbon blowout”

Carbon News 1/12/14: Future of work in NZ in clean tech, says Labour


Labour vows to watch work and the new economy


The Labour Party’s Future of Work Commission will include analysis of the impacts on work of climate change and the low-carbon economy. The commission was announced by Labour leader Andrew Little at a business briefing in Auckland this morning. It will be led by finance spokesman Grant Robertson, who told Carbon News that clean-tech opportunities are at the forefront of the party’s thinking.

Govt hopes Kyoto credits will cover emissions blow-out


The Government will use international Kyoto credits received in what’s known as the KP1 true-up to cover its emissions blow-out. But it doesn’t yet know how much of a help they will be.

Memo farmers: Learn to manage your methanotrophs


Farmers could cut their future exposure to carbon prices by looking after the methanotrophs in their soils, a soil scientist says.

Lima climate talks ‘stepping stone’ for universal treaty


A new round of talks in Lima is an opportunity to raise immediate awareness on climate change and lay the foundation for a new universal agreement to be adopted in 2015, says a top UN official. Continue reading “Carbon News 1/12/14: Future of work in NZ in clean tech, says Labour”

Carbon News 24/11/14: penny-pinching on climate funding


Govt slammed for weak climate fund contribution


The Government is under fire for the size of its contribution to a global fund to help developing countries to combat climate change. New Zealand last week agreed to donate $3 million to the Green Climate Fund. That’s half the amount pledged by Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, and 3 per cent of what’s been promised by South Korea, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark.

Climate change a little too far down Labour’s list


By CN editor Adelia Hallett: New Labour Party leader Andrew Little appears to rank climate change only slightly more importantly than does Prime Minister John Key. Little, elected as leader last week, announced his shadow cabinet today. The climate change and environment portfolios have gone to relatively low-profile MP Megan Woods, who is ranked 13th in the line-up, and outside the front bench.

New shadow minister eyes climate change priorities


Labour’s new climate change and environment spokesperson says there’s never been a time when she didn’t believe in climate change.

Yealands wins sustainability award


Yealands Family Wines took the top prize in this year’s Sustainable Business Network Awards. Continue reading “Carbon News 24/11/14: penny-pinching on climate funding”