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'Report highlights the need for action on climate change'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The release of Environment Aotearoa 2019 highlights the urgent need for more action on climate change.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is working across the transport, business, and residential sectors to help New Zealanders decarbonise the way we move around and how we use energy.

EECA’s Chief Executive, Andrew Caseley says with urgent action required on climate change, it’s important for people to have alternatives to using fossil fuels.

‘The energy sector is one where there are a broad range of existing and emerging options to decarbonise’ he says.

‘In transport, which accounts for 21% of our overall greenhouse gas emissions, about a third of people would now consider an electric vehicle (EV) as their next vehicle purchase, and to date there are over 13,000 EVs on the road.’

Environment Aotearoa highlights the impact road transport has on poor air quality in some of our major cities. EVs reduce emissions and are a much cleaner energy option as they don’t have any tailpipe emissions.

EECA’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund has so far part-funded over 90 different projects including EV charging infrastructure and innovative ways to grow the commercial use of EVs, and in public transport.

In the residential area, EECA is delivering the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme which provides grants to cover two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation, to make homes warmer, drier and more energy efficient.

As Environment Aotearoa shows, home heating in winter can be a major contributor to poor air quality in some parts of New Zealand. Mr Caseley is pleased that grants for energy efficient and clean heating appliances are available from July this year under the programme.

There are also big opportunities for businesses to reduce their energy-related emissions in their vehicle fleets and in how they use energy to process goods. As the report states, manufacturing, construction, and other industry sectors are all major contributors to New Zealand’s carbon emissions.

Mr Caseley says the industry-led Climate Leaders Coalition demonstrates how the business sector is supporting moves toward lowering emissions. ‘It’s now about putting intentions into actions and to stop thinking about it and to start taking action’.

‘There are increasing examples of this, EECA counts its clients among those who are actively implementing plans to reduce their carbon footprint, including Fonterra, Synlait, Silver Fern Farms, Oji Fibre Solutions, Ravensdown, Kiwirail, Auckland Transport, Auckland Council, as well as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch International Airports.’

In addition, EECA’s Efficient Products programme delivers ongoing cost savings and reductions in carbon emissions by raising the energy efficiency of appliances sold in New Zealand.

‘These energy savings programmes saved enough to power more than 49,000 households for a year, and was equivalent to taking 35,000 fossil fuel cars off the road, in the last financial year alone,’ Mr Caseley says. To date the programme has delivered savings of $1.027 billion in national benefit, 42 PJ and 1.66 Mt CO2-e.

‘Not only will reducing energy emissions from vehicles, home heating, appliances, and industry help to reduce New Zealand’s emissions, but clean energy also reduces air pollution which is a problem in our cities as noted in Environment Aotearoa 2019’.

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