As a council we have an opportunity to support strong action by others - other levels of government, the community or even with industry to better achieve our shared goals. Whether through submissions, gathering support, or collaborative investment, our influence as a partner is just a valuable as our own activity. Going forward it will be essential to feed back to all levels of government and work closely with the community and industry to deliver the zero carbon growth we need to sustain our economy and employment while shifting the future from one that compromises the environment to one that enhances it.
Our partners, government or otherwise, often hold far more power as they have a national footprint, meaning it is only through them that Wellington’s Zero Carbon vision can be a reality.
The building code currently falls short in terms of carbon sensitivity relative to energy efficiency. Improving the building code is the single most important action that can be taken to ensure that future buildings are contributing to our zero carbon goals. An easy way to achieve this may be to require certification of a certain standard. This is also a good opportunity to enhance health, combat energy poverty, reduce emissions, and create better homes and commercial buildings for Wellingtonians (and all New Zealanders).
The building code currently falls short in terms of carbon sensitivity relative to energy efficiency. Enhancements to the building code are the single most important action that can be taken to ensure that future buildings are contributing to our zero carbon goals. An easy way to achieve this may be to require certification of a certain standard. But perhaps most importantly of all, this is a tremendous opportunity to enhance health, combat energy poverty, reduce emissions, and fundamentally create better homes and commercial buildings for Wellingtonians(and all New Zealanders).
"If we build warm, dry, homes then we're going to reduce health costs for both the individual and the Government, so it's about being smarter, investing at the beginning and getting the benefit of good design." - Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive of NZGBC
NABERSNZ as a certification system for rating the energy efficiency of office buildings. Adapted from Australia, where it is mandatory for large office buildings, the same mandatory system should be implemented here. This is because commercial buildings use 21% of New Zealand’s electricity, costing business $800 million per year with an average assessment of a 20-25% scope for improvement on building energy performance. This would help tenants understand the performance of the building they wish to occupy.
A 2015 Australian report, "Commercial Building Disclosure", calculated AUD$44 million savings due to increased energy performance between 2010-2014 and AUD$168m in productivity gains from NABERS. - Commercial Building Disclosure, PROGRAM REVIEW, ACIL Allen Consulting
Similar to NABERSNZ, a mandatory residential energy efficiency rating system should be used. The independent Homestar program is a voluntary energy efficiency rating system administered by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC). This should be mandatory for all new-built homes.
"The future is about measurement and reducing." - Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive of NZGBC
The ban on offshore oil and gas exploration permits signals the transition to a zero carbon economy is underway. Replacing natural gas with alternative fuels - particularly hydrogen – has great potential as a viable source of energy but also as potential opportunities in the zero carbon economy.
London, Aberdeen, Hamburg and Milan are just some of the European centres with hydrogen-powered buses - H2 Aberdeen
The Council strongly endorses central government to continue investing in public transport on the back of their latest Government Policy Statement; and invite them to support initiatives that encourage active transport such as walking and cycling.
“Transportation is not an ideology...It’s about taking a look at the capital asset we have and using it in the most effective way possible.” - Janette Sadik-Khan, former NYC transportation commissioner
There are significant barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) that need to be urgently addressed so that the majority of Wellingtonians choose electric when purchasing a car. Barriers include the upfront cost of purchasing, which only Central Government can fix. To address this, the Productivity Commission has recommended, and WCC has endorsed the introduction of a feebate scheme.
“Transitioning our fossil-fuelled transport fleet to run on clean, renewable electricity is one of the most effective ways for New Zealand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet our climate change commitments” - Andrew Caseley, Chief Executive of EECA, 2018
Road transport is responsible for roughly 38% of Wellington City’s emissions, significantly more than the national proportion. It is clear that rapid EV uptake is required if we are to meet our 2030 and 2050 targets - uptake that even subsidies will not generate. Given that New Zealanders hold on to their vehicles for longer than any other developed country, a reasonable import ban - aligned with vehicle lifetimes - in 2030 would fit well with the goal of reaching a zero carbon fleet by 2050.
Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom have already legislated for the ban of the importation of internal combustion engine vehicles for new vehicles sales to be enacted for 2030. China has enacted a ban for 2040.
The aim of public transport should not be to maximize revenue but rather a plethora of outcomes such as: to be part of an array of excellent transport choices; remove cars from the road; reduce the need for maintenance and roading projects; enhance liveability and lower our overall emissions. But in Wellington we have a problem. The fares are higher on buses than trains, higher than other centres in the region, higher than elsewhere in the nation, and even higher than elsewhere abroad. We believe that Wellington needs an equitable farebox recovery scheme. The goal should be no matter where you come from, a couple and a child should able to get into town on the bus cheaper than by private transport, accounting for parking costs are considered.
The Council already works closely with Greater Wellington on issues like bus priority and Let’s Get Wellington Moving. However, it is important to emphasise that while the Council will continue this good work, the Council strongly advocates for more affordable and convenient bus services for all Wellington communities as a matter of priority.
The development of biofuels addresses several gaps. Electrification for heavy transport and the aviation and shipping industry requires technology that is unlikely to be available to reach a zero target by 2050. The large-scale production of biofuels presents an attractive alternative. Scion Research found that drop-in fuels from non-food feedstocks, particularly forestry grown on non-arable land, is the most attractive option for pursuit.
The development of a wood-based biofuel industry will open up new income opportunities for farm foresters and other forest owners. - the Bioenergy Association
The idea of Direct Air Capture (DAC) where CO2 is ‘captured’ from the atmosphere and either stored underground as rock or converted into synthetic fuel is admittedly new, but potentially exciting. Central government should explore the possibility of funding research and development into this technology or look for opportunities to invest. Such a tool will complement the 1 Billion Trees afforestation initiative well.
"Our clean fuel is fully compatible with existing engines, so it provides the transportation sector with a solution for significantly reducing emissions, either through blending or direct use," says Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering (A DAC fuel company). "Our technology is scalable, flexible and demonstrated."
Emissions from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in Wellington City comprised 4% of Wellington city’s gross emissions in 2014/15. Further reductions can and must be achieved toward Wellington becoming a zero carbon city. Significant increases in the price of the Waste Disposal Levy and extension to other landfills will support this.
Already allowed for under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, a container deposit scheme provides for the collection of a monetary deposit on beverage containers at the point of sale. Upon the return of the container to an authorized location or retailer the redeemer is refunded the deposit. Such schemes are widespread and highly effective at increasing recycling rates.
The opening of the Queensland Container Refund Scheme on November 1 2018 collected $1 million of refunds issued by November 12 through the collection of 10 million bottles and cans. - Container Exchange, 2018
Product stewardship places the onus for waste management not just on the manufacturers but extends this to include all parties in the life of a product including producers, retailers and consumers
New Zealand sends around 2.5 million tonnes of waste to landfill, or over a tonne of rubbish per household. The majority of this waste is not reprocessed or recycled, and doesn't break down over time. – Ministry for the Environment, 2018
Diet is major portion of climate impact, but realistic expectations need to be applied to managing a transition to a low-carbon future. Diverse options ranging from local vegetable co-ops, plant-based to lab-grown meat, and aquaculture are all needed to average down carbon emissions on the journey to zero carbon. The continued education and promotion of alternatives needs to occur.
The Better Futures report released in February showed a 3% increase in meat-free diets in 2018 now totalling 10% of New Zealanders who are meat-free. – Colmar Brunton’s Better Futures report, 2019
The Resource Management Act was passed 28 years ago and does not consider the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change. As our primary piece of legislation pertaining to land use, the omission of the effect of GHGs needs to be urgently addressed.
New Zealand’s key environmental statute is disabled from considering what is a critical issue relating to climate change. - Sir Geoffrey Palmer, 2015
Renewables currently comprise approximately 80% of the electricity mix, amongst the highest in the OECD. If that moves to 100% or near it, it will improve emissions from both buildings and transport as the fleet electrifies.
The ETS is the Government’s primary policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. To date, it has not provided a disincentive to emit carbon, nor an incentive to plant forests to remove it. This must change – and fast.
New Zealand’s all of government procurement system should be both comprehensive and overarching in having a set of social procurement policies.