Coming soon: RSNZ reports on NZ climate impacts and mitigation options

Expert panels to deliver up-to-date overview of climate risks and mitigation options

Last year the Royal Society of NZ set up two panels to look at what our current understanding of climate change means for New Zealand, and the findings are due to be published over the next two weeks. The first report, Climate Change Implications for New Zealand, will be released on Tuesday, April 19th. It was put together by a team led by VUW’s Prof Jim Renwick, with a brief to:

“prepare a succinct summary of existing New Zealand information around the risks associated with recent and projected trends in greenhouse gas emissions, and the likely consequences for New Zealand in future decades and centuries.”

The second report, Climate Change Mitigation Options for New Zealand, was prepared by a panel led by Prof Ralph Sims, and will be published on April 27th.

The Implications report will be launched at the RSNZ in Wellington at 11 am on Tuesday (free admission, register here), and the Mitigation report will be launched at the same venue in Wellington on the 27th (register here), and in Auckland on the 29th (register here). The RSNZ has also arranged a series of talks by international experts Prof Jean Palutikof (Co-chair of IPCC 5th Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) and Prof Jim Skea, co-Chair of IPCC Working Group 3, on to accompany the reports. Details here.

I’ll have more on what the reports have to say after their release, but they promise to provide a very useful overview of what we’re confronting, and how we might move forward to address the problem. At the very least they should offer a concise framework for policy-makers and politicians to work with.

10 thoughts on “Coming soon: RSNZ reports on NZ climate impacts and mitigation options”

  1. Despite some bold words their is no sign of a policy or plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Fonterra is still burning coal and no plans for electric transport so it’s still business as usual. Making a bit of remote ocean into a park is a grand gesture but not much use in reducing our emissions. We will need a plan before we ratify the UN climate change agreement angry they are not going to satisfied with green wash.

  2. I will see if I can squeeze into the Auckland event. Such events need publicity too. I only heard by word of mouth that the “Leading the Charge” group driving EVs from Cape reinga to Bluff had been in Auckland demoing their vehicles. An enquiry among a group of persons discovered that no one had seen or heard of any media coverage. I only learned of the exercise by looking up the TV stuff after seeing some Wellington coverage last night on TV. Maybe it made the news by the politics: They charged the government over promoting company takeup of EVs but not doing so with gov’t fleets.

    Appropos of EVs you might be interested in a proposal started in the Nederlands parliament and gaining some traction to ban sales of fossil fueled vehicles from 2025. The last sentence in the article is worth recording. I immediately saw the possibility of application in NZ politics: “People worry about running out of power, but the [drivers] that run out of power are the same ones that run out of gas.”

    1. I saw all the electric cars at Wellington station yesterday. They certainly dispel any notions that electric cars have to be boring.

      It is a shame that there was no advertising. The report in the DomPost was about going driverless, but again it makes EVs sound exciting.

      1. I don’t think there is any reason that EVs need to be boring. By all accounts the Tesla is a pretty amazing car. The great thing about the electric motor is the torque gets carried through the entire speed range without need for a gearbox, so you are basically in one gear the whole time.

        Ian Wright, the co-founder of Tesla, gave a talk at TedX Christchurch last year

        His talk surprised me in that he downplayed EVs as solving any fossil fuel dependency if your power still comes from coal fired electricity, as it does in much of the world

        In his talk, which is very good by the way, he describes the work he is doing to build turbine powered garbage trucks. i.e Jet turbines burn diesel, cleanly, to make electricity to charge the batteries for the EV truck. This gives much better fuel efficiency and also burns the diesel with a blue flame, getting rid of those nasty particulates that you get from internal combustion diesel engines.

        1. A small non ICE and a battery is an interesting way forward for some applications, particularly heavy vehicles. Sterling engines are another technology that can offer cleaner burning advantages, but then if you use a diesel engine to run at a steady load for a generator instead of the wheels, it is easier to run that cleaner anyway and it is available off the shelf.
          Cleaning up diesel emissions is not that difficult, just need to add about £400 – £500 to the cost of the car and oblige the driver to top up AddBlue periodically, neither of which the manufacturers are keen to do. Big AddBlue dispensers can be seen at all the UK lorry fuel pumps.
          As for EVs and fossil fuel dependency, this argument entirely misses the point that electricity generation fossil fuel consumption is in transition. My older diesel car had pretty good emissions of 130kg CO2 when it was manufactured, and was still good when I got it 3 years later. But now, 16 years on, CO2 emissions for my site visit banger have not improved. Over that same period British electricity generation has cut CO2 emissions. An EV can over its lifetime take advantage of every incremental improvement to the grid it charges from. It can even be an incremental improvement to the grid itself by smoothing load through its own charging, and acting as distributed peaking battery for the grid.

          1. It will certainly be of interest to see how the electrified buses with their turbine backup chargers are managed. I suspect that good managemaent of electric buses will minimise use of those diesel turbine chargers, even eliminate it on many routes. Over 1000 buses they own.

            I asked an Auckland bus driver recently if he had heard of moves to put electric buses in service in Auckland. He was completely blank on the subject.

  3. I went along to one of the ETS reviews. The impact that the ETS will have is minimal because the bulk of emissions are ignored, i.e. agriculture and free allocations. Interestingly the amount of free allocations is not expected to diminish over time.
    Officials talked a lot about auctioning, i.e. the government creating NZUs out of nothing and selling them. This would crowd out future investment and reduce the NZU price. The only benefit is as a source of revenue for the government.
    It sounds as if the Government is already acknowledging that they will not meet their Paris targets and will have to purchase credits from overseas.
    I found out about the EV tour through a Facebook friend but it was not well publicised. Very impressed with the Tesla, it would be more fun to drive than my hybrid Outlander.

  4. I watched with interest last night an Aljazeera programe “Can consumers trust the car industry?”. The panel of three did conclude that this was a very bad time for car manufacturers to lose consumer trust. This after the Scandinavian futurist, Anne Lise Kjaer, pointed out that climate change and the advent of purpose rather than profit driven ev ventures such as Tesla was a fundamental disruptor of the car industry. The emissions expert, Nick Molden, seemed unable to cope with the implication that questions of widespread industry deception over emissions became irelevant if the future was emissions free transport. The marketing and branding expert, Felix Stoecle, tended to agree with Anne Lise.

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