New Zealanders asked to help shape future climate and energy policy

Switching New Zealand to full renewable energy and solving the challenge of climate change will ensure a better planet for our kids and grandkids, the Minister for Climate Change and the Minister for Energy and Resources said today as they invited all New Zealanders to have their say on to two important policy decisions.

The first of these policy proposals asks for feedback on proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure major polluters are paying their fair share and taking action to reduce emissions. As part of this, New Zealanders have also been asked to share their views on a provisional emissions budget for the period 2021-2025.

“The more climate action we take, the closer we get to ensuring we leave behind a safe planet for our children and their future families. We all need to play our part to make this happen, especially our most polluting industries. The trouble is, under the previous Government the rules of the Emissions Trading Scheme were left too weak to ensure these organisations could contribute their fair share.

“Right now, we’re working to reform the Emissions Trading Scheme to better translate our emission reduction targets into a predictable emission price. That will incentivise our biggest polluters to invest in the transition to a clean, green economy,” James Shaw said.

The Government is also consulting on a discussion document on plans to boost renewable energy generation and energy efficiency, says Megan Woods.

“New Zealanders want a transition away from fossil fuels and towards home-grown clean energy. Currently, the cost of renewables is falling making them cheaper than fossil fuels. That means increasing renewables will deliver lower energy costs, lower emissions and more jobs. It’s a win-win-win.

“This government has started the work to move New Zealand away from fossil fuels towards more solar, wind and other clean, renewable sources of energy, with view to meeting our goal of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

“We also want to make sure New Zealanders’ homes and buildings are more energy efficient, meaning we can all stay safe and warm without damaging the environment for future generations. I look forward to hearing New Zealander’s views on the range of options we lay out,” Says Megan Woods.

The Accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency discussion document explores possible options to address barriers to reducing energy-related emissions and opportunities to improve energy efficiency across the economy.

The document builds on, and responds to, the Productivity Commission’s Low-Emissions Economy report, and the Interim Climate Change Committee’s Accelerated Electrification report.

Both consultations close on 28 February 2020.

Further information on the ETS

The Emissions Trading Scheme sets a cap, or a limit, on the total number of emissions that can happen in New Zealand. Every tonne of emissions has to be matched by an emission unit and the total number of available units gives them a market value. This price needs to be high enough to encourage low emissions choices, while also remaining predictable.

The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament will restructure the NZ ETS to enable it to put a cap on emissions covered by the scheme and to reduce that cap over time in line with our climate change targets.

This Bill however will not specify the settings of the scheme, which will be achieved through regulation and it is these regulations that are currently being consulted on.

The proposals include:

  • The provisional emissions budget for 2021 to 2025
  • The overall limit on emissions in the NZ ETS over the period 2021 to 2025
  • How many units are auctioned into the scheme by the Government over the period 2020 to 2025
  • Whether a price floor in the NZ ETS is needed over the period 2020 to 2025
  • The level of the potential price floor over the period 2020 to 2025
  • The level of the price ceiling for activities occurring in 2020
  • How adjustments are made to unit supply to account for changes in emissions removed by forestry.

The consultation page is now open here.

Further information about the renewable energy and energy efficiency consultation

The Accelerating Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency discussion document is available here.