In the space of just a few weeks we published an underwhelming report on our climate action plans (relying heavily on purchasing carbon credits overseas and that hasn’t worked out well so far), announced extensive plans to continue our oil and gas exploration programme, pushed out the deadline to end coal-fired electricity generation and revealed another gas power plant could open when we already have the plans and infrastructure to meet all our power needs using renewable energy.
The Paris climate change agreement says this to our children and grandchildren: “We promise not to expose you to the dangers of climate change.” If we are to keep our word, we have no alternative but to decarbonise our entire economy.
In the last few months Contact Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River EECA, Unison and Powerco have worked together to commission the first in a series of reports that claims increased solar means increased CO2 emissions from the electricity sector. Which, of course, makes no sense. Further, the report argues, a higher price on carbon will result in more carbon emissions - clearly nonsense.
In the electricity sector we need to get to 100% renewable generation as quickly as possible. That means we need to close the coal-fired power station at Huntly and other gas-fired power plants around the country.
The science is now unequivocal and it is clear that we will have to put a complete stop to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Our nation cannot afford to sit back and try and save the environment and our children’s future from the sofa. New Zealand needs to move quickly to zero emissions in line with the G7 nations which have rightly acknowledged that this has to be our common objective.