Government releases first Emissions Reduction Plan

A $4.5 billion fund has been allocated to a suite of initiatives aimed at reducing global warming and avoiding the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The Government’s first Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), unveiled this week, represents one of the most ambitious steps Aotearoa has made to address a climate crisis fast approaching the symbolic 1.5C threshold and to enable the country to reach the target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The 350-page report outlines the ways the Government will reach its emission targets, with initiatives spanning almost every sector, from agriculture and energy to waste and forestry.

Some of these include:
• Reducing waste going to landfills and investing more in waste infrastructure, allowing most houses to have kerbside food waste collection by 2030
• Establishing a nationally-integrated ticketing system for public transport
• Ending reliance on coal with a ban on new low-to-medium temperature coal boilers and a phase-out of existing ones by 2037
• Reducing the embodied carbon of construction materials by supporting innovation and regulating to promote the use of low-emissions building design and materials
• Developing a specific Māori Climate Strategy and Action Plan to empower Māori to lead responses to climate change
• Establishing native forests at scale to develop long-term carbon sinks and improve biodiversity

Transport – which makes up 17 per cent of New Zealand’s gross domestic emissions and 39 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions – faces arguably the most significant shakeup.

By 2035, the Government wants to reduce the total amount of kilometres driven by the light vehicle fleet by 20 per cent, while increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles to 30 per cent.

It also wants to reduce emissions from freight transport by 35 per cent, and the emissions intensity of transport fuel by 10 per cent.

The Government is planning an array of changes to make clean transport options more accessible for Kiwis, including the establishment of a Clean Car Upgrade, and a scrap-and-replace trial for lower-and middle-income families who want to trade in their vehicle for a more environmentally-friendly alternative.

You can read the full report here.

Emissions Reductions Plan
Image credit: RNZ / Angus Dreaver