Climate Change Plan: High Emission Vehicles Will Be Banned, Electric Vehicles Encourage Sub-$4.5 Billion Plan
A $569 million trial will help families switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.
More than a third of cars on the road will be electric or hybrid – and high-emission vehicles will be banned – under a major plan unveiled by the government.
The $4.5 billion in funding announced today will help reduce global warming and avert the catastrophic effects of climate change.
It also includes half a billion dollars to help low-income families switch to electric and hybrid vehicles – part of the government’s commitment to ensure climate action does not further entrench inequality.
The Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), unveiled today, represents one of the most significant and ambitious steps Aotearoa has taken to do its part in tackling a rapidly approaching climate crisis. symbolic temperature of 1.5°C and achieving the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions. by 2050.
It seeks to do this first by respecting three emissions budgets initially until 2035, which have the support of Parliament.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said it was “the most important day in the history of our country when it comes to climate action”.
The main focus of the plan is transport, which accounts for 17% of total emissions and has increased by 76% since 1990.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the plan would “pave the way to a net zero future”.
“Where more people can afford electric vehicles (EVs), our cities have state-of-the-art public and active transportation infrastructure, our largest emitters have switched to clean, reliable energy, our farmers grow food in ways that contribute to the climate, and more of our homes are warmer and more affordable to heat.”
Asked if the government had acted fast enough given the immediate threat of climate change, Shaw said it had taken “30 years to get to the starting line”.
He said we should always go “further and faster” but he was confident in the plan.
Shaw said the plan was based on principles such as New Zealand playing its part in the global effort, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and equity, working with nature to address the biodiversity crisis, and all working together to build a more productive and sustainable economy.
The transportation sector will get a $1.2 billion boost, including $569 million for clean car upgrades, which will help low- and middle-income households get rid of high-emission vehicles in exchange for electric and hybrid alternatives.
The trial will initially support up to 2500 vehicles.
Shaw said equity was a major goal of the plan and that climate action should not “further entrench inequality”.
The long-awaited plan also adopts previously announced targets of 30% of the light-duty vehicle fleet being zero emissions by 2035, and total driving being reduced by a fifth.
These are designed to encourage adoption, as in March electric vehicles accounted for just under 40,000 of the more than 3.3 million light-duty vehicles on our roads, despite recently announced measures such as new imports and “rebated taxes” that target polluting vehicles.
By 2035, the government has also required the entire public transport bus fleet to be zero-emission, with only zero-emission buses entering from 2025.
The plan contains no commitment to continue the half-price public transport fare system, although Robertson said the extension was “still under consideration” ahead of the full budget release on Thursday.
The plan indicates support for a congestion charge in Auckland with a decision expected later this year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was a “historic day” in the transition to a low-emissions future.
“We have all seen the recent reports of sea level rise and its impact right here in New Zealand. We cannot leave the problem of climate change until it is too late to solve it. “, said Ardern, speaking of the isolation due to Covid-19.
Robertson today unveiled the Climate Emergency Response Fund, created with $4.5 billion from revenues from the emissions trading system, and which will fund many actions.
The fund will initially have $2.9 billion over four years.
Maori have long been recognized as one of the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to their “significant dependence on the environment as a cultural, social and economic resource”.
The Māori economy relied heavily on primary industries, and many communities were near the coast. Already, many urupā (cemeteries) and marae were flooded or washed into the sea.
Shaw said empowering Maori to lead responses to climate change and upholding the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi was one of the main aims of the plan. This included the development of a specific Maori Climate Strategy and Action Plan.
In agriculture, as expected, the government failed to adopt the Climate Commission’s bold proposal to cut dairy, cattle and sheep by 15% this decade.
That’s largely because the government is negotiating separately with industry through the He Waka Eke Noa program – and big decisions on emissions cuts aren’t likely until later in the year.
The plan itself only calls for a reduction of 0.3 to 3.7 MT of C02 equivalent by 2025, but by then the sector will fall under the emissions trading scheme.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said while he accepted that these initial targets were modest, he was confident the sector would meet its targets of reducing biogenic methane emissions by 10% from levels from 2017 by 2030 and from 24 to 47% less by 2050.
But although agriculture is still outside the emissions trading scheme, the sector will receive $710 million over four years in funds to help reduce the sector’s emissions and develop “green fuels”.
About 50% of emissions came from agriculture, including 23.5% from dairy cattle.
Between 1990 and 2020, emissions from the sector increased by 17%, mainly due to an 80% increase in the dairy herd and an increase in synthetic nitrogen use of around 693%.
When asked how fair it was for the sector to receive funding without contributing to it, Robertson said they could have taken a “position of principle”, but that these funds would help reduce these emissions.
Shaw said pricing emissions under the emissions trading system would continue to be a key part of reducing emissions, but relying on it alone was seen as having the highest cost and would therefore work with other measures in the plan.
Other targets listed today include reducing waste emissions from landfills, with most homes to have food waste collection by 2030. Freight emissions would also be reduced by 35% by 2035.
Shaw said the energy sector was another main focus, which accounted for 27% of emissions.
Actions there included banning new coal boilers and phasing out old ones by 2037.
Just over $650 million had been allocated to decarbonize industry over four years to 2026, with an additional $330 million over three years after that.
The funding would also be used to develop an energy strategy and use alternative fuels, such as hydrogen and those derived from biomass.
The final carbon budgets confirmed this month, taking us to 2035, are roughly similar to what the Climate Commission recommended almost a year ago, as well as what the government has proposed in its own draft emissions plan.
In the first period, until 2025, the government wants to keep emissions at around 290 megatonnes of CO2e (MtCO2e) – slightly below the emissions we have projected.
Although the allocation increases slightly in the second period – i.e. 305 MtCO2e between 2026 and 2030 – it is still estimated to be around 20% less than what the country released into the atmosphere in over the five years leading up to 2021.
The third budget of 240 MtCO2e, for 2031 to 2035, represents a reduction of 35%.