Emissions reduction plan favors private companies and technological solutions

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Climate Justice Taranaki describes the government’s emissions reduction plan as lacking a social perspective and favoring private business and industry.

“The Plan is weak and too slow. There is too much public money going into private industries and agriculture that gives nothing back through the ETS. We need community-driven solutions that lead to transformative change at scale, such as free and more frequent public transport, and increased support for regenerative local economies,” said spokesperson Emily Tuhi-Ao Bailey. by Climate Justice Taranaki.

“With increasing climate disruption, we need to bolster our aging electricity infrastructure and support more local, Maori and community renewable energy systems to build resilience. Yet the plan allocates some $650 million to industries to decarbonize, ten times the amount of what is spent on fixing the electricity market and boosting renewables, while allowing coal-fired boilers to operate until 2037. This is totally unacceptable,” said Catherine Cheung, Climate researcher Judge Taranaki.

“What we need is an immediate ban on all new coal, oil and gas permits and the construction of any new infrastructure dependent on fossil fuels for electricity generation, heating and industrial processing. It is quite clear that the government favors industries. Another $18 million of public money poured into another hydrogen roadmap and offshore wind farm regulations will only pave the way for the big end of town. It will waste limited resources and much-needed time to strengthen essential public services, address energy challenges and reduce energy demand,” Cheung said.

“With transport, it is good that the Plan supports low-income people, but there is so little investment in public transport in comparison. Really, we need a clean and affordable public transport system, including rail, to get most of our cars and goods off the road.

Along with agriculture, the plan allocates $339 million to agri-tech that we don’t need or want. This is almost ten times more than what is allocated to farmers, cultivators and Whenua Maori to make the transition. The plan should include a sharp reduction in the number of stocks and a shift to low-input, diversified and regenerative agriculture. Significant support is needed to integrate biodiversity restoration, fruit and nut trees, timber, fiber and energy crop production on farms, to help sequester carbon and support rural livelihoods.

We must stop exporting tree logs and revive our wood processing industry to also address the housing shortage. Reduce our dependence on export and import and instead invest in national markets and communities,” Bailey said.

“Another important thing missing is a clear commitment to protect all remaining natural areas, especially wetlands, and to support massive reseeding efforts. This would help address both the climate and biodiversity crises and improve our children’s chances of survival.

We can only hope there is more to Budget 2022 to make it a true wellness budget.

We are literally at the edge of the cliff, with rising seas and storms threatening our survival. We just need to let go of the mantra of economic growth and focus on caring for people, social equity and resilient communities. This is the only way forward,” Bailey concluded.

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