Like others in the country the two-car Spencer household took the climate change plunge and halved its emissions this year by investing in the future and buying an electric car. After much pondering and research, we determined the only way to find out if it worked was to try it.
We’ve found the process much less painful than we imagined. It’s easy to plug into a normal plug-socket overnight – the electricity company gave us a great night rates deal – the range is no issue as it’s the second car, mainly used around town. Hey, we use it just like a normal car. The cynical hubbie is so impressed he’s even talking about buying a hybrid!.
This adds to other efforts like using recyclable shopping and vegetable bags, composting our vegetable peelings, tea leaves, coffee grinds (the plants look great by the way!), recyling card, paper, cans and bottles, insulating the house, and using LED lighting amongst other things. All the efforts are aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
We’re just one out of New Zealand’s 10,000 electric vehicles, just two percent of the national vehicle fleet, but the numbers are growing. It is encouraging too that Climate Change Minister James Shaw says the Government is looking at policies to encourage the supply of EVs in order to bring prices down so that they are cheaper, more widely available, and more affordable for New Zealanders. Transport has such a huge and critical role to play in the transition to a low-emissions economy.
Looking into the crystal ball for 2019, it is clear climate change will really be brought to life next year. The recent United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special report has added extra urgency to the goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C to avoid run-away warming and even more extreme climate events from happening by the end of this century and earlier.
New Zealand’s One Billion Trees planting programme is already underway, but there’s a ‘few’ more to go in yet – some of them, no doubt, on red meat farmers’ land, where it suits their operations.
Transition planning the rest of the required changes, including the introduction of agriculture into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, will have to be done very carefully by the Coalition Government through the Productivity Commission. Not least to avoid accusations of subsidies by the back door, but also as Tony Marshall tax advisory partner for accountants Crowe Horwath says, to consider the effect it could have in coming years on one of New Zealand’s most important export earning sectors.
Speaking at the massive COP24 climate change event in Katowice in Poland last week, it was encouraging to note Shaw told delegates New Zealand was part of the Action Agriculture event, showing agriculture is part of the solution: “It can deliver the triple win: improving agricultural productivity, reducing emissions and building resilience to climate change,” he said.
New Zealand’s going a long way to playing its part. Lofty science work on pastoral greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions started over 18 years ago through the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, which has since facilitated the Global Research Alliance. This is transferring through to the farmer and into the paddock courtesy of Beef + Lamb NZ’s Environment Strategy and Deer Industry New Zealand’s Environmental Code of Practice.
She’s a big task, but we’re all playing our part! And, as consumers, we’ll still be able to buy the best quality meat with clear consciences from, in my humble opinion, the best producers of meat in the world in 2019.
In the meantime, it’s off to the beach for some much-needed R&R from midday on Friday 21 December. We will be back raring to go at the start of February. We will be thinking of all those in the plants, on the farms and in the offices keeping things running smoothly at this busy time of year.
In the meantime, have a very merry Christmas, travel safely and stay safe these holidays. All the very best from us at MeatExportNZ for a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2019.