Thursday, 26 May 2016

NZ government to restore a full unit obligation in the NZ ETS

By Suzi Kerr and Catherine Leining, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Under its Budget 2016 package, the New Zealand government announced today that it will progressively phase in a full unit obligation for non-forestry sectors in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) over a three-year period. 

According to the media release from Hon Paula Bennett, Minister for Climate Change Issues, “The current 50 per cent unit cost will increase to 67 per cent from 1 January, then 83 per cent from 1 January 2018, with all sectors in the ETS paying the full market price from 1 January 2019. The current price ceiling which caps units at $25 will remain.”

Restoring a full unit obligation in the NZ ETS represents an important step forward for incentivising domestic mitigation but future emission prices remain uncertain in the absence of broader decisions on future unit supply.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Banking ideas for climate solutions

by Catherine Leining, Ceridwyn Roberts, and Suzi Kerr of Motu Economic and Public Policy

"How might New Zealanders help to reduce climate change?"

People who are increasingly concerned about climate change want to know what practical steps they could take to be part of the solution. Motu has released a new information resource which could help: an Idea Bank of Pathway Milestones for New Zealand’s Low-Emission Future.

During the past two years, participants in Motu's Low-Emission Future Dialogue have explored possible pathways toward a successful low-emission economy for New Zealand.  Participants engaged in their personal capacity, not as organisational or sector representatives. Detailed ideas that emerged from the process are captured in this “idea bank” document, which is offered in the spirit of sparking discussion, not as recommendations. While acknowledging the vital role that forestry will play, the participants focused on the stationary energy, land transport and agriculture sectors. Additional outcomes from the process are presented in the synthesis report New Zealand’s Low-Emission Future: Transformational Pathways

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Can Engineers Change the World? Energy Transition Engineering

Dr Susan P Krumdieck is Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Advanced Energy and Material Systems Lab, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Can technology solve the climate problem? Dr Krumdieck outlines her work on a new interdisciplinary practice called transition engineering: changing course one innovative project at a time.

Business leaders recognise that the biggest risk to their business is energy transition. The most popular concept of this transition involves a substitution of renewables for fossil fuels and development of elusive tail-pipe technologies like carbon-capture and storage. This concept is comforting and simple. But it is also profoundly wrong. There is no way to achieve an energy transition without completely reworking every aspect of our infrastructure, industry and economy to vastly reduce energy demand. Changing the global economy to nearly eliminate the use of fossil fuels is a “wicked problem” – a problem with no known solution. This is why the new field of energy transition engineering is emerging. 

Can engineers change the world?