Ground-breaking NZ Energy Revolution report launched

Press release - February 26, 2007
New Zealand can take major steps towards avoiding climate chaos by reducing energy demand and switching to clean, renewable energies – and that means banning coal-fired power stations.

New Zealand Energy Revolution Report

On the back of this morning's protest at the Huntly coal-fired power station, Greenpeace was set to present Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker today with the first major report outlining how New Zealand can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector to avoid catastrophic climate change without damaging the economy.

However, Mr Parker has refused to accept the report from Greenpeace. Climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson said: "we are disappointed that the Minister will not receive our report, our submission on Government climate change proposals, which we believe is extremely important to the debate. We trust he will read it."

The report, New Zealand Energy Revolution: How to prevent climate chaos:

  • Calls for a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution on 1990 levels by 2020, and a 90 per cent reduction by 2050.
  • Predicts that New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions will double by 2050 if we continue the way we are going. 
  • Says that by taking urgent action now, we can stabilise emissions from the energy sector (including electricity and transport) by 2020, and cut them by 72 per cent by 2050.
  • Recommends that the shortfall on the necessary emissions cuts be made up by a combination of: more rapidly phasing out existing fossil fuel stations, using more biofuels once their environmental impact is better understood in New Zealand, adopting new technologies as they emerge, or buying carbon credits on the international market (1). 
  • Says New Zealand can and must achieve a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply system by 2025, and calls for substantial policies and incentives to switch to these technologies.
  • Says that the Huntly coal-fired power station should switch to gas now and be phased out by 2025, and that no new coal-fired power stations should be built. 
  • Calls for an economy-wide cost on carbon (initially through a carbon charge, and then through emissions trading) by 2008. Delaying until 2012, as indicated by the Government, is too late.
  • Calls for a shift away from air transport towards rail and sea-based freight systems, and the development of widespread, efficient public transport. 
  • Warns that New Zealand must urgently address the issue of agricultural emissions.

Vanessa Atkinson said that New Zealand was already paying the price for delaying action on climate change.

"This is the 11th hour - our emissions have actually increased since signing up to the Kyoto Agreement to reduce emissions," she said.

"We can still reduce our emissions enough to do our part to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change - including droughts, floods and millions of people being made homeless - but only if we take decisive action now."

Vanessa Atkinson said that it was vital as many New Zealanders as possible made submissions on the Government's draft energy and climate policies, which are now being reviewed. Submissions close on March 30, and can be made online

Download the report here

Notes: (1) The model assumes that infrastructure, such as fossil fuel power stations, are not retired before their used by date. The model does also not assume major energy technological breakthroughs such as nano solar technology or energy storage systems for more variable energy sources such as wind, which would expand their use.

Exp. contact date: 2007-03-26 00:00:00