By Carmen Gravatt
On Behalf of Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand
The world is witnessing a historic, global shift in the way we power our economies, our businesses and our homes. As the sun sets on the era of fossil fuels, major, global economies are racing towards a new era of clean and renewable energy. And New Zealand is well equipped to capitalise on this shift. We are endowed with a high level of renewable electricity infrastructure and expertise; a wealth of talent for innovation and a can do attitude and a reputation as a clean, green place to do business.
It is within this context that the Draft New Zealand Energy Strategy is being consulted on. However, the Government’s Strategy fails to recognise and provide the necessary support needed to fulfil New Zealand’s potential and in doing so fails to step-up to the challenge of climate change or understand the powerful influence climate change is already having on shaping our global energy future. By placing a heavy emphasis on boosting the exploitation of fossil fuels, the Draft Energy Strategy shows a particular lack of strategic vision.
In a world of depleting fossil fuel reserves and climate change there is no such thing as a low cost, high carbon economy. At this crucial time in New Zealand’s energy history we need a road map towards sustainable, clean, economy and strategies to capitalise on our clean green reputation, rather than a new fossil fuel rush which threatens to erode it. A range of major infrastructure and technological investments will be needed in the coming decades. The transition will involve hard choices between a number of technology pathways and policy options. This needs to be actively managed and will require strong regulation and coordination with public policy. We set out this challenge in the submission that follows.
- That the Government seize upon the opportunity presented by climate change, and global recession to move to a low carbon economy and ensure, long term sustainable prosperity and energy security.
- That the Government adopt a target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2020.
- That the Government adopt and communicate a target of 100% renewable electricity by 2020.
- That the Government provide clear guidance and regulation to create a level playing field and enable businesses to invest with confidence, in a low carbon economy.
- That the Government initiate and expand existing support for research and development in clean-tech and sustainability sciences.
- That the Government underpin the investment needed to grow a clean economy, the Government should set up a Green Investment Bank.
- The Government safeguard and ensure the integrity of our clean green reputation.