Here’s an interesting list of NZ-relevant steps to combat climate change from the latest EBANZ newsletter:
Further action you can take on climate change
to reduce climate change and live a healthier life:
1. Stream Edge Planting
multiple benefits as well as being permanent carbon sink – by planting natives encourage biodiversity, native birds etc, act as sediment and nutrient trap from farm runoff, to keep streams cleaner, shade streams so better envir. for aquatic life, provide employment for planters, fencers.
2. Forest expansion –
Into areas where currently wilding pinus contorta is “a problem” eg craigiburn range, McKenzie country Into lower productive areas of farms eg steep slopes into gullies Make dairy conversions of forestry land only available if on a carbon neutral basis
3. Stop Burning Coal –
Provide help to convert every school boiler from coal to woodchip Provide carrot & stick to convert all other coal boilers to biomass Ban domestic burning of coal
4. Promote Non Ruminant farming – its not all farm animals, just ruminants that are the problem!
Make ruminant farmers progressively pay for their greenhouse pollution over time, until they are paying for half their pollution or means are found to prevent methane emissions from ruminants. Encourage people to eat less dairy products, less mutton , lamb and beef and more pork, chicken, ostrich etc Encourage everyone to eat one ruminentless meat meal a week
5. Modify Power Stations to take Renewable Peaks
Run Geothermal stations hard when low renewable power available, rest them and let pressure build up when plenty of renewable power is available Install additional turbines at hydro stations so can increase power generation at any one time to cover renewables Look at using existing stations as virtual pumped storage eg run water backwards from Pukaki to Tekapo (apparently the canals are built so flat that this is possible)
6. Encourage Logburners not heatpumps or gas heating
Overturn bans on logburners with smoke alarms on chimneys – persistant offenders fined
7. Auckland PV Feed -in Tariff
Since Air-con load in Auckland is almost the main peak and that this load closely matches max power from solar power generation, use feed in tariffs for those feeding in renewable power at peak times in Auckland
8. Bring back Cheap Ripple Control Rates to Lop off Power Peaks
Legislate if need be to have ripple controlled rates considerably below uncontrolled rates so more people use them – we would all have not just our hot water cylinders on ripple control, but also out freezers. We might also wire socket outlets for our dishwashers, clothes dryers and washing machines differently – having a controlled and uncontrolled plug for each – in the normal situation you would leave the appliance plugged into the controlled outlet and only unplug it from there and plug into the uncontrolled if you particularly wanted something done immediately. At present there are hot water cylinders going in not wired to a controlled rate because there is now so little difference between controlled and uncontrolled.
9. Modify Power Stations to take Renewable Peaks
Run Geothermal stations hard when low renewable power available, rest them and let pressure build up when plenty of renewables (presently they are run steady state and their use as virtual storage is untapped) Install additional turbines at hydro stations so can increase power generation at any one time to cover renewables Look at using existing stations as virtual pumed storage eg run water backwards from Pukaki to Tekapo (apparently the canals are built so flat that this is possible)
10. Change Thermal Power Stations to Biomas
Move from burning coal and gas to woodchip and producer gas Legislate that any new electricity generation connected to the grid be carbon neutral
11. Stop Urban Sprawl
– one of the big growth in transport emissions is car commuting – living closer to town means more chance of being able to use public transport, cycling or walking. Encourage councils to change planning laws to allow townhouses so people live closer to town in denser settlements where public transport might actually work
12. Disincentivise New Dairy conversions
Legislate that new dairy conversions must be carbon neutral in recognition that it is dairy farms that have really ramped up our emissions compared to other sorts of farming or land us.
13. Nitrogen Inhibitors promoted for farmers
– this big block of 16% of our emissions can be wiped almost immediately with current nitrogen inhibitor technology
14. Carbon Footprint of government buildings mandated
To encourage use of carbon sequestering timber construction including multi-story building rather than building with steel and concrete mandate an ambitious but achievable carbon footprint for new buildings an alterations. Using Big lumps of timber to actually store carbon rather than steel that has a big carbon footprint (and performs poorly in a fire relative to big timber that gets protected by the 1st inch of char) is potentially a zero cost change. Encourage low carbon mass materials for heat & cool storage such as earth walls, floors and plasters. Encourage low carbon insulation such as wool rather than high energy content fibreglass
15. Energy Efficiency of Houses Rated and Displayed at Sale – there are simple rating tools becoming available.
16. Energy Efficiency of Rental accommodation must be rated and displayed
17. Change NZ Building Code to ensure Daylighting of Commercial Buildings, without heat gain
1/3 of office building energy use is in lighting, the heat given off from lighting contributes significantly to the next biggest electricity load for these buildings – air conditioning. Yet we know how to give good daylighting, without summer overheating to commercial buildings by using Southlight Clearstories. There is no excuse for single story buildings, top floors of multi-story buildings and big parts of other floors of commercial buildings.
18. Campaign in your city / region for better, cleaner public transport – Electric tramways etc
19. Join a permaculture group or do a permaculture course
20. Investigate alcohol as a fuel as part of community-supported agriculture