Friday, April 28, 2023

Point of Order: Climate Change Commission sounds caution about forestry.....

......while Peeni pumps $57m into a fund for wood processing

There’s much to absorb in the 205-page report from the Climate Change Commission headed 2023 Draft advice to inform the strategic direction of the Government’s second emissions reduction plan.

If media headlines fairly sum up what the commission is saying, the government should be smarting.

Here’s a sample –

Despite the tone struck by the writers of those headlines, Climate Change Minister James Shaw says he welcomes the report.

Sure, the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice shows “there are many more hurdles to jump”, he acknowledges .

But it seems he has consulted Finance Minister Grant Robertson on the art of writing an assuring press statement, and he says the report

“… highlights the solid foundations laid made by the Government’s landmark Emissions Reduction plan”.

Shaw’s statement is among the new ones posted on the Government’s official website since Point of Order last checked on what Ministers of the Crown are doing, where they are going, and how much they are spending.

Or what revenue-grabbing policies they will be implementing.

The new statements include an assurance from the PM that the Government has ruled out a specific cyclone levy in the upcoming Budget to pay for the recovery from the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.

In a pre-Budget speech in Auckland today, he said:

“There will be no new tax everyone would have had to pay, like a cyclone levy, to fund the recovery.

“This will be an orthodox no-frills Budget focused on funding the things most important to New Zealanders like support with the cost of living and cyclone recovery.

“There will also not be any major new tax changes like a wealth tax or CGT.”

Latest from the Beehive

Good afternoon everyone, it’s great to be with you today.

The Government has ruled out a specific cyclone levy in the upcoming Budget to pay for the recovery from the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

Unlocking the potential of the wood processing sector, growing our economy and contributing to New Zealand’s climate change response is the aim of a new fund.

The Government has released a draft plan to transform the fishing sector so that it can do a better job of protecting the environment while providing more jobs and earning more money.

New independent draft advice released today by the Climate Change Commission shows that there are many more hurdles to jump, but highlights the solid foundations laid made by the Government’s landmark Emissions Reduction plan.

Forestry Minister Peeni Henare – speaking at the Wood Processers and Manufacturers Association conference in Rotorua – would have been sure of warm applause when he announced the $57 million fund, although the quid pro quo is that the Government will become a partner with wood processors

“… to co-invest in wood processing capacity to create products like sawn structural timber and engineered wood”.

He proceeded to declare the same ambition that umpteen governments have championed in the past:

“We want to process more logs onshore, help move our forestry sector from volume to value, lift our economic performance and resilience and create high-wage jobs in our regions,” Peeni Henare said.

His data showed that in 2021 wood product manufacturing plus pulp and paper contributed around $3.8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP and wood processing manufacturing alone makes up around 40% of this figure.

His officials – or someone – have estimated that the $57 million funding support will result in $500 – 650 million of additional GDP over the life of the fund’s investments.

The fund will support:
  • greater domestic processing of wood to help meet our climate change goals as wood products store carbon and delay CO2 being released back to the atmosphere
  • increased onshore processing that produces sawmilling residues which are a feedstock for low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts
  • a boost in producing high-value wood products in New Zealand that will help us achieve our climate change goals.
“The forestry and wood processing sector is central to many of our regional economies and it is past time we capitalised on the opportunities available,” Peeni Henare said.

“Over the last two decades, New Zealand’s overall wood processing capacity has remained relatively stable while log volumes available to be processed have doubled.

“Investment in wood processing infrastructure has declined and we are missing out on the potential benefits that processing wood here in New Zealand offers. This fund will support feasibility projects through a ‘catalyst fund’ and provide capital support through an ‘accelerator fund’ to turn this around.”

In other words, in response to market signals, investors have steered clear of wood processing infrastructure. Presumably they reckon they are better putting their money somewhere else.

Peeni isn’t deterred:

“By producing more high value products onshore, the sector can support New Zealand’s goals and commitments to decarbonise the economy.

“Wood processing produces residues that can be turned into a range of biofuels to support decarbonisation which contributes to reducing emissions.

“These investments will deliver better outcomes for workers, whāanau, communities and regions to support a more productive and sustainable economy. Current projections will see hundreds of jobs generated from the additional capacity created by the fund,” Peeni Henare said.

This fund will also help achieve the objectives of the Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan and support the Government’s Economic Plan to build a high-value, high-wage, low-emissions economy.

We can only trust that Peeni has read the Climate Change Commission report, which says:

“The Government’s climate change watchdog says New Zealand is relying too much on planting trees to soak up greenhouse gas emissions, essentially passing on the burden of making actual cuts to following generations”.

Welcoming the report which sounded that caution about planting trees, James Shaw said the 19 draft recommendations outline the policy direction the Commission recommends the Government should take to stay on track to achieve New Zealand’s 2026-2030 emissions budget.

“We thank the Commission for its latest stock take of the highest priority actions needed to take us to net zero by 2050. The good news is that there is considerable alignment with much of the work we already have underway, and that schemes like the clean car discount are already making a difference.

“It is encouraging the Emissions Reduction Plan has laid the foundations to bring about transformative change.”

But true climate progress can’t be just about setting targets, Shaw said, and

“…we have to step up our actions with much greater urgency and scale if we are to achieve a net zero future.

“We also know we need multiple wins to get to net zero, so it is important we don’t rely too heavily on carbon removals from forests to do all the heavy lifting. This is where existing work in decarbonising our state sector and industrial processes can really make a difference. We cannot delay delivering and extending these areas.”

Shaw noted, too, the Commission has emphasised the need to act is more imperative than ever.

Moreover, the Commission‘s analysis shows that delaying key actions, such as transitioning to electric vehicles, could result in GDP falling by 2.3 per cent in 2050.

“This makes it crystal clear that the cost of inaction is much more than that of action.”

When the Commission released its first emissions plan advice in 2021, it concluded there were achievable, affordable and acceptable pathways for NZ to reach net zero by 2050.

Shaw said it was encouraging to note that this is still the case.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


Robert Arthur said...

With the myriad persons employed in govt departments one would have expected the very foreseeable flaws of the pine planting solution to have been identified. Serious carbon reduction requires serious life style changes so we will forever fiddle only with "solutions" which provide a lucrative business opportunity for entrepreneurs. In any case it is whole of life world carbon which matters and it is questionable if EVs and the like much assist.

TJS said...

The Ocean and the volcanoes have a whole lot more to do with our atmosphere and our climate than we mere humans do.
And that news is good.

The mere fractions of a degree in difference of temperature is what we are talking about, due mainly to do with electronic probes as opposed to mercury thermometers. So data is false. Another words it's all BS. And is a huge money making scam, we the salary and wage earners foot the bill. Hideous people these climate alarmists are.

KiwiBuzz said...

Nothing that New Zealand does will change the climate of the world or of New Zealand. All this stuff that they want us to do is an exercise in futility. Claiming that the world will follow our lead when the Western world is frantically trying to find enough coal, oil and gas to overcome the loss of supply from Russia is delusional.

We should also look at the real world data which shows that the world has not warmed since 2016 and most of the warming that has occurred in the last 20 years or so can be attributed to changes in the El Nino effect.

The evidence confirming that man-made greenhouse gases have little effect on our climate is getting stronger every day.

If they really think there is a need to reduce greenhouse gases, then a switch to nuclear power is clearly the best option. But it doesn't even get a mention.