Resolving climate change will mean transfer to new approaches, writes Scott Willis.
I've been driving gasoline for the past two months and the filling costs have been a shock after driving the electric vehicle (EV) for so long.
But this wallet pain is short-term and economical only. Economically and deeply ironic, as the day of the publication of the latest summary report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was the same day that the media deprived political and social rages of gasoline prices by dropping a rather important expert consensus on how to avoid really bad things .
You know things are a bit crazy when people call for fossil fuel taxes to be cut off so we can continue to consume fossil fuels and keep our path to classic chaos.
One of the simplest things we can do in New Zealand to reduce emissions is to stop fossil fuel transportation. To do this will not be without short-term economic consequences. We will have to spend the money individually and collectively to move away from fossil fuels. But we will save far more than we will spend by avoiding costs of extreme climate impacts and improved health and well-being (more active transport and lower emissions). The deviation from fossil fuel based transport systems will also require a change in many ways we work and reduce consumption, as we do not have the capacity of renewable energy to simply replace fossil fuels by electric or hydrogen transport. We'll have to go with less, in a fair way.
This is a difficult question for politicians to deal with the urgency needed because they need popular approval. But now urgency is needed. Such as The Guardian Global Environmental Editor Jonathan Watts explained in response to the IPCC report: "World Climate Scientists have warned that it is only ten years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5degC, after which half the degree will significantly worsen the risk from droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty to hundreds of millions of people. "
It's easy to be pessimistic, but there are positive signs.
The Dunedin City Second Generation Districta plan has just been published and there are some guidelines for new homes that take into account the need for new construction in potential flood risk areas to be adaptive but less dependent on the car. The government has in the meantime set up a new Ministry for Housing and Urban Development, which could help determine the priorities of public and active transport, and make our cities more lively.
The Dunedin City Council is also active in improving active transportation (cycling cycles and pedestrian zones) in the city and funding for the Urban Cycleways program. The Regional Council of Otag develops a new central bus stop near the Great King of St in the central city. These things, coupled with rising petrol prices and lower costs of active and public transport, will help reduce our reliance on one-on-one vehicles. Cars will continue to play the role, and the government will soon announce a new package that will help accelerate our national fleet's electrification. In fact, there is a huge amount of innovation around the electrification of our transport fleet, with business executives working on the round-the-clock battery-powered batteries that are powered by EV when they're up for a lifetime, installing multiple fast charging stations – such as ChargeNet's new charger at St. David St – and much more. Look at this space!
At the national level, the government dedicated last month to the maintenance of electric locomotives at the main line of the main channel in the north of the island, and renewal potentially boosted jobs. The electric railway is powered by the electric energy produced here in New Zealand rather than the fossil fuels pumped out of the country in a distant part of the world. As Climate Change Minister James Shaw said, "Choosing an investment in clean, electrical transport is crucial to meeting the challenges of climate change. Maintaining electric trains on the track is a real thing for the future of the railways, especially while exploring the possibilities of further electrification of the grid and the role of trains on fuel. "And Megan Woods, Energy and Resources Minister, recently signed a" Memorandum of Co-operation on Hydrogen "with Japan to" go to a low-carbon economy. " Hydrogen can be useful for long-term trucks, hydrogen fueled trains or even sailing ships.
In fact, there are a lot of good news, and many involve the government. But what can we do on our own? Until recently, most commentators thought gas demand was "non-elastic" – we would just keep it, no matter how much it cost. However, the recent price has been briefly boycotted by gas stations and Z Energy reported a drop in profit of 31% in six months to the end of September. People manage to work with less. The sky did not fall and alternatives to a single passenger car were found. So how do we take a break in thinking about our own transport habits and what can we change to reduce burning fossil fuels, build new habits and support alternatives, ie walking / cycling on business, renting, public transport or distance work? How to join one of the groups or organizations that support transport alternatives.
Perhaps we will not be able to jump on the coastal ferry line yet on the road between Dunedin and Wellington, but we can certainly use a lot of low-traffic traffic options. We need to change our high-emission habits to reduce the risk of extreme climate impacts: active transport; public transport; joint transport; electric transport; compact, elastic city core – we can all contribute to this, both as individuals and as a society. It's time to find everyone on board!
1. The Dunedin City Integrated Transport Strategy from 2013 is here: www.dunedin.govt.nz/vase-konsko-strategic-framework/transport-strategy-…
Dunedin's spokeswoman at FB: www.facebook.com/SPOKESDunedin/
3. Bus Users Support Group Otepoti Dunedin at FB: www.facebook.com/busgodunedin/
4. Dunedin EV Owners of Public FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/403816650002889/
5. News about the new charger: www.otago.ac.nz/otagobulletin/news/otago698181.html
6. Summary of the latest IPCC report: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/session48/pr-181008-P48-spm-en.pdf
Scott Willis is the project manager at Blueskin Energy Ltd. Every week in this column, one of the printer's members addresses issues of sustainability.