Connect with us

HTML Image

i

Latest News

COP28: New Zealand supports tripling global renewable energy, Climate Minister says

Published

on

Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says he will provide an update on New Zealand’s stance on a global renewables pledge when he lands in Dubai at the end of the week.

Although he declined to say whether he would sign the pledge, Watts said the government backed the underlying goals of tripling the world’s renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.

New Zealand was one of only a few OECD countries missing from a list of more than 100 signatories promising to accelerate renewable energy and energy efficiency, which was launched at the COP28 climate summit over the weekend.

Watts leaves for Dubai on Thursday and will attend the tail end of the summit from 8-12 December.

He said he understood the pledge’s targets were global in nature, leaving flexibility for individual countries to tailor their approaches.

That means New Zealand could sign up, even though National’s policy of doubling renewable energy by 2050 is substantially less than the pledge’s global goal of trebling by 2030.

“We have reviewed that specific pledge and I’ll look to be proving further updates on that when I arrive on the ground on Thursday,” Watts said.

“It is a global pledge and obviously New Zealand’s starting point is very different from many other countries.

“But it is consistent with our coalition priorities to double renewable energy by 2050.”

New Zealand has a substantially higher share of renewable electricity than most other signatories, including Australia. However, the country will need to expand supply to electrify cars, buses, trains and industrial processes that currently burn fossil fuels.

At a previous climate summit, New Zealand signed a methane pledge to reduce global methane by 30 percent by 2030, despite similarly not planning to make that level of cuts here.

Again, the pledge was to support a global aim, leaving room for different national paths – in that case, deeper cuts to fossil fuel methane and shallower cuts to agricultural methane (New Zealand’s major methane source). New Zealand’s target is cutting methane by 10 percent by 2030.

This summit, dozens of oil and gas companies promised to get methane leaks from their operations to zero by 2030.

However, the companies attracted criticism for focussing on operational emissions, when it is carbon dioxide from their products that most urgently needs to plunge to limit global heating.

Watts said his key priority at the summit would be working with other countries to push for an ambitious consensus outcome on energy. (A consensus outcome is when all 200-odd countries agree to take action, as distinct from side agreements featuring groups of countries).

He said New Zealand felt the effects of extreme events during devastating cyclone Gabrielle this year.

COP28 logo on the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on November 30, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto) (Photo by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP)

COP28 logo on the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/AFP

The action so far

The summit got off to a strong start with the launch of a fund to start giving money to the countries hardest hit by climate change, known as the Loss and Damage Fund. Countries agreed to create a fund at the previous summit, but it took a year to get it running.

Early in this summit, New Zealand also signed up to a pledge on food and agriculture, promising to pursue lower-emissions farming and to help food production adapt to a more turbulent climate. Protecting nature was also part of the pledge.

Other elements have been more fractious.

Hosts the United Arab Emirates have attracted controversy for perceived close ties with oil interests.

COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber during the opening press conference of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on November 30, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto) (Photo by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP)

COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber during the opening press conference of COP28 in Dubai, on November 30, 2023. Photo: AFP

COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber – who is also the chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) – is reported by the Guardian to have told former Irish President Mary Robinson, during a live online event in November, that there is “no science” saying phasing out fossil fuel is what is going to keep the world inside 1.5C heating.

Wording around agreeing to “phase out” fossil fuel, or alternatively adopting a softer goal like “phasing down” fossil fuel, or targeting only certain categories of fossil fuel, is a key issue at the summit.

On Sunday, New Zealand was awarded the first “fossil of the day” award of the summit – a mark of dishonour given out by civil society groups. The award was in recognition of the new government’s decision to reverse the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.

rnz

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News

Air NZ sorry for charging tourists $13,000 to change flight after terminal diagnosis

Published

on

Air New Zealand has admitted it made a mistake when it tried to charge two US tourists $13,000 to change their flights after one of them received a grave medical diagnosis.

Todd and Patricia Kerekes flew business class from New York to Auckland in January. The return tickets cost $37,500.

They intended to stay until April, but six weeks into their visit Patricia was diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder. Their surgeon advised them to head home immediately, so Todd contacted Air NZ to have their flights moved up.

“Right away on the first call I told them my wife was gravely ill, and we were on holiday and we needed to go back home,” the 60-year-old told Checkpoint.

“And it was a whole series of long pauses, and I couldn’t tell whether they were conferring with co-workers or working at it on the computer, or what it was. But I would go through a whole series of 15- to 30-minute hold periods, and sometimes the people would come back and basically tell me something I didn’t want to hear, like it was gonna cost me NZ$13,000 to change my flight.”

Continue Reading

Latest News

Housing Minister Chris Bishop sets ‘long-term’ price target of three to five times household incomes

Published

on

The new housing minister has set a target of having homes costing just three to five times household incomes – well below what they are now in most of New Zealand.

But Chris Bishop does not want too quick a fix to the country’s housing affordability crisis – saying a crash “tomorrow” would “cause enormous economic and financial instability to people”.

“What I want is for house prices to moderate over time, so that in 10 to 20 years’ time, we have essentially gone a long way towards solving our housing affordability problem,” he told Checkpoint on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day he outlined the first steps in his plan, saying most of the country’s biggest cities will be flooded with land for residential development.

In a speech delivered to Wellington’s Chamber of Commerce, Bishop confirmed councils will have to earmark 30 years’ worth of land for housing development.

They will be able to opt out of housing density rules that allow homes up to three stories high on most residential sites without the need for a consent – a bi-partisan rule that National signed up to in opposition. Instead, councils will be able to choose exactly where high density housing goes.

He also promised to make it easier to build granny flats or dwellings less than 60 square metres.

In his speech, Bishop said the status quo was costing the country the equivalent of 15 Transmission Gully motorways every four years “just on helping people to be housed”.

“The taxpayer subsidises rents for people in social housing, we pay for emergency housing grants, we pay for transitional housing, we help people with their bond payments and so it goes. A failure to reform housing has made it extremely expensive for government.”

And in a briefing to Cabinet, Bishop said housing affordability was arguably the single most pressing economic and social issue.

Speaking to Checkpoint, Bishop said New Zealand was not short of land, but rules “make it very difficult to use that land”.

“What we’re saying is we need to go out at the edge of our cities and we also need to go up inside our cities.”

Inside existing limits, Bishop said the coalition government would keep Labour’s policy of allowing up to six storeys “within walkable catchment areas of rapid transit stops”, and give councils more discretion over what areas had to allow up to three storeys.

Asked how councils would be prevented from pushing most of the intensification to certain suburbs and leaving others alone, he said: “There are natural limits on the intensification that would take place in suburbs. There are infrastructure limits, for example.

“But also, you know, over time suburbs will change and the nature of our cities will change. I mean, if you think about the Auckland CBD now, compared to say 50 years ago, it is much more dense, many more people live in apartments, they live in tower blocks in the CBD. The same is true to some extent of Wellington.

“But you know, the Wellington of today will look very different to the Wellington of 30 years’ time. Change will be gradual. It is not going to happen immediately, change will happen over many, many years.

“But what I am saying and what the government is saying is that we need more houses. We have an affordability problem in New Zealand and have done so for 30 years because we have designed a planning system that has made it very difficult to build more housing, and it is a social and economic problem we’ve simply got to grapple with.”

Pressed on how much he would like to see house prices drop, Bishop cited the internationally popular metric of prices to household incomes.

“In housing markets that we consider to be affordable, a house price to income ratio of between three and five is considered affordable. That’s not the case in most of our major cities right now.”

Current data shows that multiple nationwide is currently 6.6. In Auckland it is 8.1, Wellington 6.14, Christchurch 5.84, Hamilton 6.57 and Dunedin 5.7. In Queenstown-Lakes, the multiple is almost 15.

“Over time as you moderate house prices and incomes grow, [three to five] is what we would like to see things get to, but as I say, that is not going to happen immediately and it is not going to even happen in the next two to three or four years. This is something that has to happen in the medium- to long-term.

“And unless we do that, house prices will continue to go up and people will continue to be locked out of the housing market.

“I want house prices to be affordable, and a house price to income ratio of seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, in some cases 13 to one in some parts of New Zealand is not affordable, entrenching inequality and poverty in our cities.”

He refused to give an exact timeframe, saying that would be making the same mistake the Labour-led government did in claiming it could build 100,000 houses in 10 years.

“Land markets and the economy is much more complicated than that. What I am saying to you is that we have [an] extensive and comprehensive work programme based on evidence to make housing more affordable in the medium- to long-term.”

rnz

Continue Reading

Latest News

Everton punishment reduced to six points

Published

on

Everton have had their points deduction for a breach of the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules reduced to six points from 10 after an appeal, the club and the Premier League said on Monday.

Everton were docked points with immediate effect in November after being found to have breached profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) relating to losses.

“An independent Appeal Board has concluded that the sanction for Everton FC’s breach of the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSRs), for the period ending Season 2021/22, will be an immediate six-point deduction,” the Premier League said in a statement.

The original points deduction meant Everton dropped from 14th in the standings into the relegation zone with four points. The club filed an appeal against the initial deduction, which they labelled “wholly disproportionate and unjust”.

“Everton can confirm an Appeal Board has concluded that the points deduction imposed by an independent Premier League Commission in November be reduced from 10 points to six points, with immediate effect,” a club statement said.

The sanction was appealed on nine grounds, each of which related to the sanction, rather then the breach and two of those nine grounds were upheld by the Appeal Board.

Everton admitted to a breach of PSR for the period ending with the 2021-22 season, with their total losses for that period amounting to 124.5 million pounds according to an independent commission.

According to the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play regulations, clubs are permitted to lose a maximum of $216 million over a three-year period.

The Merseyside club recorded four straight wins after their deduction to climb up to 16th, but have been dragged back into the relegation battle following a run of nine league games without a victory.

The reduction means Everton move up to 15th in the standings with 25 points, five points above the relegation zone.

The club say they are still considering the wider implications of the decision and will make no further comment at this time.

Everton were then charged once again by the Premier League in January for a separate PSR breach, along with Nottingham Forest.

Everton players celebrate

Everton players celebrate Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Both clubs were referred to the chair of the Judicial Panel, the Premier League said, who will appoint an independent commission to determine the appropriate sanction, which may include a further deduction for the Sean Dyche-led club.

A second points penalty would increase risk of relegation and add to the uncertainty over the future of Everton, who are currently in the midst of protracted takeover talks with U.S. investment fund 777 Partners and also hoping to move to a new stadium ahead of the 2025-26 season.

BACKGROUND ON OTHER CLUBS

Last year, Manchester City were referred to an independent commission over more than 100 alleged breaches of finance rules since the club were acquired by the Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group in 2008.

No verdict has been reached in that case. Premier League CEO Richard Masters said last month that a date had been set for a hearing. City have denied any wrongdoing.

Clubs in England’s top flight have been docked points before.

Middlesbrough had three points deducted in 1997 when they failed to fulfil a fixture, while Portsmouth received a nine-point penalty in 2010 when the financially-troubled club entered administration.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2022 The Buzz: Powered by Apna Network Limited - Concept by Digital Hub NZ