Friday, 27 June 2014

Sustainable KiwiSaver fund: Have your say on where your savings are being invested

By Fiona Stephenson, National Communications Manager, Sustainable Business Network

Do you know where your savings in KiwiSaver are being invested? If you care about which companies your savings are supporting, your input can help drive demand for a sustainable KiwiSaver fund. At the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), we would love to hear your views, so take this quick survey (less than five minutes) and be part of a collective voice.

Monday, 23 June 2014

New Zealand's long and winding road to policy certainty on emission pricing

By Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow, and Suzi Kerr, Senior Fellow, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research 

Recent news reports about different aspects of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) have proven wrong the well-worn saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

The government’s First Biennial Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change indicated that the scheme has had little effect on domestic emissions compared to a modelled “without measures” scenario and this will continue under current policy settings.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Food and beverage industry must act on climate change

By Sarah Meads, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam New Zealand

The world is dangerously unprepared for climate impacts on food - yet food companies are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Here Sarah Meads explains why food and beverage companies need to clean up their act. 

What has climate change got to do with food and beverage companies? In brief, agriculture and deforestation (largely driven by the expansion of agricultural land) are responsible for around 25% of global emissions. At the same time, climate change presents a major risk to food supply chains and ultimately to the profitability of the 10 biggest food and beverage companies and to the food industry worldwide. 

Oxfam’s new report, Standing on the Sidelines: Why the food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change, calls on food and beverage companies to dramatically step up action on climate change by using their influence to reduce agricultural emissions and to emerge as leaders by speaking out on the need for climate action from other industries and governments.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Fossil Fuel Divestment – Part 1: Can it really make a difference?

By Luke Harrington

Fossil fuel divestment is a rapidly expanding idea and shareholders in the fossil fuel industry now face a curious new reality. Everyone knows about the potential power of a positive feedback effect: an action which reinforces the initial direction of change. In terms of the physical response to climate change, we can think of the Arctic - melting ice leads to more exposed ocean, resulting in less sunlight reflection, more heat absorption and hence further ice melt. Fossil fuel divestment can be seen in the same way as our CO2 emissions were for the Arctic; investors have the ability to start the snowball effect. Though the financial risk to investors may be too low to necessitate divestment in the near term, doing so now will help to actively destabilise future fossil fuel assets, thereby making the concept of divestment more financially attractive for others shareholders later.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Adrian Macey Publishes New Climate Change Article

Post by Judd Ormsby Research Analyst, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

The May 2014 edition of Policy Quarterly contains an article by Adrian Macey titled “Climate Change: Towards policy coherence”. Adrian Macey, New Zealand’s former Climate Change Ambassador, is an adjunct professor at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute and a member of Motu’s Low-Emission Future Dialogue. In the article Macey gives an overview of the international negotiations and a good assessment of the key challenges for New Zealand’s international contribution and domestic policy. The piece has already made an impact, featuring in this discussion in Parliament between Kennedy Graham, (Green Party) and the Minister for Climate Change Issues, Tim Groser.

Macey’s paper is short (less than 10 pages), and well written, but covers a fair few issues so I’ll direct you to the original instead of offering a (less well written) summary. I will mention a couple of things however.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Generation Zero: Fueling the national conversation on climate change

By Catherine Leining, Policy Fellow, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

On 5 June 2014, Paul Young, a co-founder of Generation Zero and a participant in Motu's Low-Emission Future Dialogue, hosted a live chat on the website of the New Zealand Herald on the theme of "What's next for climate change action?"  This was part of an ongoing series organised by Element and the Centre for NZ Progress on what New Zealand might look like in 2025.

Paul launched the chat with an article highlighting the global warming challenge, New Zealand's current situation and - most importantly - some practical solutions that could help New Zealand to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.  The chat elicited some thoughtful questions from readers, ranging in interest from the recent carbon tax proposal from the Green Party to which energy solutions are feasible in the New Zealand context, what we can learn from other countries and how we can overcome political polarisation.