Coromandel Chronicle January 2016

Columns
Friday, January 29, 2016

Happy New Year to both local residents and visitors still enjoying the delights of a Coromandel summer holiday.

January is a busy month here on the Peninsula. Summertime holiday events are a hallmark of our region and there is plenty to do, see and experience. It’s the time of year when we get the chance to enjoy all that is good and great about the Coromandel.

Many of those wonderful experiences are centred on our precious and very beautiful natural environment.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas there was much talk about the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. New Zealand committed another $20 million to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

This world-leading research has the potential to reduce global emissions, particularly in developing countries that have similar emission profiles to New Zealand.

While our emissions are small on a global scale, it’s important we do our bit internationally.

Having set ourselves a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, New Zealand faces unique domestic challenges in reducing emissions.

Almost 80 per cent of our electricity already comes from renewable energy and around half of our emissions are from agriculture - where there are not yet cost effective ways of reducing emissions.

However the government recognises we need to change that.

In 2009 we formed the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which looks at ways of reducing emissions from livestock, cropping and rice production. The government has agreed to invest a further $29 million to capitalise on some new research to reduce methane emissions.

We’ve also started a review of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to assess its operation and effectiveness to 2020 and beyond. It is time to ensure our ETS remains fit for purpose.

New Zealand will provide up to $200 million for climate related support over the next four years, most of which will benefit Pacific Nations and supports the total removal of fossil fuel subsidies.

I hope you and yours have had a safe and happy Christmas. Best wishes for 2016 and for all the New Year holds.
ENDS