Emissions Reduction Plan favours private business and techno-fixes

Climate Justice Taranaki describes the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan as lacking social perspective and favouring private business and industries.

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

“With increasing climate disruptions, we need to strengthen our aging electricity infrastructure and support more local, Māori and community-based renewable energy systems to build resilience. Yet the Plan allocates some $650m for industries to decarbonise, ten times the amount of what’s going into fixing the electricity market and boosting renewables, while allowing coal boilers to run till 2037. This is totally unacceptable,” said Catherine Cheung, researcher of Climate Justice Taranaki.

“What we need is an immediate ban on all new coal, oil and gas permits and the building of any new fossil fuel reliant infrastructure for power generation, heating and industrial processing. It is quite clear that the government is favouring industries. Another $18m of public money going into another hydrogen roadmap and regulations on offshore wind farms will only pave the way for the big end of town. It will squander limited resources and time much needed to bolster essential public services, address energy hardship and reduce energy demand,” said Cheung.

“With transport, it’s good that the Plan supports low income earners, but there’s so little investment in public transport by comparison. Really, we need an impeccable and affordable public transport network including rail to get most of our cars and freight off the roads.”

“With agriculture, the Plan allocates $339m for agri-tech which we don’t need or want. It is almost ten times more than what is allocated for farmers, growers and whenua Māori to transition. The Plan should include a steep reduction of stock number and a shift to low-input, diversified and regenerative agriculture. Much support is needed to incorporate biodiversity restoration, fruit and nut trees, timber, fibre and fuel crop production on farms, to help sequestrate carbon and support rural livelihoods.”

“We need to stop exporting tree logs and revive our timber processing industry to address housing shortage also. Shrink our export-import reliance and invest in domestic markets and communities instead,” said Bailey.

“Another important thing missing is a clear commitment to protect all remnant natural areas, especially wetlands, and to support massive rewilding efforts. Doing these would help to address both the climate and biodiversity crises and improve our children’s chance of survival.”

“We can only hope that there’s more in the 2022 Budget to make it a genuine Wellbeing budget.”

“We are at the edge of the cliff literally, with the sea rising and storms threatening our survival. We simply must ditch the economic growth mantra and focus on degrowth while caring for people, social equity and community resilience. This is the only way forward,” concluded Bailey.