Shipping is overtaking aviation in emission reductions

in International Shipping News 14/10/2019

Shipping and aviation emit more than 5% (pdf) of the world’s greenhouse gases, not to mention black carbon, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Left unchecked, their emissions could eat up nearly a third of the world’s “carbon budget,” the allowable emissions to keep the Earth’s climate below 2°C of warming this century.

It has left a giant hole in the world’s climate strategy because the industries don’t fall under any single country’s jurisdiction. But the aviation and shipping sectors, seeing a low-carbon future, have begun to act.

Aviation went first.

In 2010, international aviation said it would halt emissions growth after 2020 and committed to 2% annual fuel efficiency improvements starting in 2021. It set up an offsetting scheme to reduce emissions as it transitioned away from fossil fuels.

Shipping, as late as 2016, did little despite being responsible for more than 3% (pdf) of global emissions and set to hit 17% by 2050.

Shipping has not only caught up, it has exceeded aviation, says Ned Harvey, who manages the heavy-industry program for the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). “Eighteen months ago, shipping was the laggard,” he said in an interview. “Now it’s leading.”

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization agreed to emission reductions of 50% below 2008 levels by mid-century. Financiers are adopting an emissions standard for shipping to assess their climate risk. Perhaps even more important is the launch of a carbon-neutral fleet of commercial ships starting in 2030. By that time, say scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emissions must have begun their steep decline toward net-zero by 2050 to avert catastrophic warming.

While neither sector’s emission targets will meet the 1.5°C goal agreed upon in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, shipping is now far closer than aviation. The airline industry lacks a clear plan to cut absolute emissions before 2030 or an accelerated program to wean itself off high-carbon fuels. That’s likely to exert enormous pressure on the aviation sector.

Why shipping?
Three factors have come together to accelerate shipping’s ambitions. First, pressure in the supply chain is driving cargo ship operators to clean up their act. Companies such as Amazon are committing to make their operations carbon neutral (or negative), and turning screws on companies that don’t help them comply.

Second, technology favors emission reductions in shipping. Whereas design tolerances for aircraft are tight, ships can more easily be modified for new fuels, larger batteries, and new hull designs. Hydrogen fuels, for example, may substitute for fossil fuels. Today’s (updated) ships could be retrofitted, while aircraft would need to be entirely redesigned at a cost of many billions of dollars. “We can (and are) building engines that can burn zero-emission fuels,” states the Global Maritime Forum, which is testing fuels derived from biomass, hydrogen from renewable electricity, and natural gas combined with carbon capture and storage.

Finally, banks are already moving to identify the highest emitters in the shipping industry, and evaluate them against international climate targets. That may restrict their access to capital in the future as banks seek to reduce their exposure to climate risk. The Poseidon Principles, announced this June, is the first shared standard for banks to measure and disclose climate risk in shipping, or any sector for that matter, says RMI, which helped negotiate it over two years. Eleven banks with $100 billion in shipping debt have now agreed on an emission baseline to assess climate risk and companies’ ability to meet international targets.

The Poseidon Principles, argues RMI, solve a central problem for global emission reductions: collective action. Any one firm (or country) acting alone is ineffective, even putting it at a competitive disadvantage. To succeed, firms need to compete on the same playing field. By giving banks leverage, transparency, and accountability to enforce emission targets and reduce their portfolios’ “carbon exposure” and risks related to climate regulation, laggards are pressured to catch up. A quarter of the shipping industry’s senior debt is now held by banks in the Poseidon agreement, a share that should rise to more than half by the end of the year, says RMI.

The industry’s “moon shot” goal is to float a commercial deep-sea zero-emission vessel by 2030 as a prelude to decarbonizing the fleet. Last year, the International Maritime Organization agreed to cut GHG emissions 50% below 2008 levels by mid-century, putting it, theoretically, within reach of emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals. In the meantime, the industry is exploring a suite of options, including slowing down ship speeds by 30% to save fuel (supported by chief executives of at least 107 shipping companies) and alternative fuel sources (biofuels, ammonia, hydrogen, or batteries). Little time is left to act. Given the 30-year lifespan of modern container ships, the next 18 months will be crucial for investors, ports, and shipyards to develop new marine fuels, propulsion, and infrastructure for a carbon-free transition.

Warming skies
The aviation industry isn’t idle. US airlines’ fuel efficiency rose 130% between 1978 and 2018, according to the trade association Airlines for America, allowing the industry to transport 42% more passengers and cargo while only releasing 3% more emissions.

But its early ambitious goals are now behind the science calling for a world with less than 2°C warming. The rise in the number of air passengers, set to double by 2035, has swamped efficiency gains by a factor of three in recent years. Cutting back emissions has become harder as efficiency improvements yield less gains over time (most were from normal turnover of aging aircraft). Flying, which already accounts for more than 2% (pdf) of global CO2 emissions, could soar to nearly a quarter of global GHG emissions by mid-century.

Unlike shipping, aviation doesn’t have an clear path to give up fossil fuels in the foreseeable future. The industry has agreed to keep emissions at 2020 levels, but to meet its goal of zero-carbon growth it must invest in emission reductions in other sectors. It’s relying on a combination of better technology, efficiencies such as satellite aircraft control, and offsets. Lots of offsets.

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, properly administrated, say groups like the Environmental Defense Fund, could tamp down emissions, but a few details have to be ironed out. If not well designed, or kept cheaper than alternatives, the industry will never be incentivized to develop low-carbon synthetic fuels. Such solutions are years (perhaps decades) away from leaving the ground. While electric and hybrid aircraft are taking off (Sweden and Norway plan to eliminate fossil fuels for all short-haul flights by 2040), they won’t be suitable for longer flights for the foreseeable future.

Yet pressure is building. If governments don’t act, customers will. “Flight shaming” is spreading from Europe to the US, convincing travelers to forgo air flights and ratcheting up pressure on the industry to move faster. In Sweden, flights have fallen by 9% this year, in part due to flygskam, or flight shame. Germany is proposing taxing airlines and subsidizing rail. “Unchallenged, this antiflying sentiment will grow and spread,” Alexandre de Juniac, head of the International Air Transport Association, told Bloomberg. “Politicians aren’t sticking up for us.”
Source: QZ

One month on from Saudi oil facility attack and motorists are still paying more at the pump

Petrol prices in New Zealand are yet to return to levels experienced prior to an air strike on a Saudi Arabian oil facility a month ago.

On September 15, drones were used to attack oil processing facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia causing the price of Brent crude, one of two global benchmark prices for oil, to jump US$6.45 (NZ$10.23) to trade at US$66.67 a barrell (159 litres).

In response BP and Z Energy increased the price of petrol and diesel in New Zealand by 6 cents a litre. The petrol companies said the hike was due to the Saudi attacks and currency movement. The New Zealand dollar had softened against the US at the time.

One month on from the attacks and New Zealanders are still paying more for petrol despite oil prices dropping below pre-attack levels weeks ago. On Saturday Brent crude traded at US$60.69.

Larry Green from petrol price comparison app Gaspy said before the attack the national average price of 91 unleaded in New Zealand was $2.16.

The drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil plants roughly halved the country's oil output for a time.
The drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil plants roughly halved the country’s oil output for a time.

After the attack it spiked to $2.22. On Monday the national average was $2.19.

Green said petrol companies were quick to hike their prices in response to the attack but slow to return them to pre-attack levels.

“Price rise very quickly and are very slow to come down,” Green said.

Gaspy co-founder Larry Green says petrol prices are dropping, just much slower than they increased.
SUPPLIEDGaspy co-founder Larry Green says petrol prices are dropping, just much slower than they increased.

Z and BP said there were a number of factors that influenced the price of fuel, oil prices being just one of them.

Z spokeswoman Victoria Crockford said its prices were determined by a range of factors that changed daily, including but not limited to the cost of crude oil, foreign exchange rates, the cost of transport, the cost of site infrastructure and maintenance and local competition in the area.

“So, while Brent Crude is a natural indicator for people to look to, and one we use in our overall equation, it is by no means a ‘cent for cent’ process in terms of our everyday pricing – neither when prices go up, nor when they go down,” Crockford said.

Petrol companies hiked petrol prices by 6 cents a litre immediately after an attack on a Saudi oil facility.
GETTY IMAGESPetrol companies hiked petrol prices by 6 cents a litre immediately after an attack on a Saudi oil facility.

She said the cost to freight crude oil from the Middle East to New Zealand had increased up to 3 per cent off the back of US sanctions on Iran that implicated a large Chinese shipping company which shipped 3 per cent of global freight.

BP spokeswoman Anna Radich said its prices were reviewed every day to ensure they were as competitive as possible.

BP explains fuel pricing on its website.

AA petrol spokesman Mark Stockdale said tracking petrol price movements was difficult because there was such variation across the country.

“There’s just so much regional price disparity,” Stockdale said.

Automobile Association petrol spokesman Mark Stockdale says petrol prices are more closely linked to competition than oil prices.
KENT BLECHYNDEN/STUFFAutomobile Association petrol spokesman Mark Stockdale says petrol prices are more closely linked to competition than oil prices.

“The market is much harder to monitor than it used to be as a result of the increasing level of price competition within regions and between regions.”

In some parts of the country prices hadn’t changed since before the Saudi attack, he said.

The price of refined petrol was disparate from the commodity price, he said.

“It’s much more closely linked to competitive behaviour.”

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment carries out weekly monitoring of importer margins for petrol.

The importer margin is the gross margin available to fuel retailers to cover domestic transportation, distribution and retailing costs in New Zealand, as well as profit margins.

The provisional weekly average importer margin for the first week of October was 27.62 cents per litre, compared to 27.95c per litre a month ago, showing margins had dropped slightly since the Saudi oil strike.


Biggest cruise season looms, but NZ hasn’t signed global treaty to reduce its ship emissions

A record 123 cruise ships are set to visit Wellington this year, but New Zealand isn’t yet contributing to reducing global ship emissions. 

New Zealand and Mexico are the only two countries in the OECD not signed to an international agreement requiring ships to run on cleaner fuel. 

Associate Minister for Transport Julie Anne Genter said  New Zealand was a party to MARPOL, (The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) however previous governments had chosen not to sign up to Annex VI which regulated shipping emissions affecting human health and the climate.  

Officials had investigated “the pros and cons” of signing up to Annex VI and the Ministry of Transport had recently finished consultation.

“I expect to take a recommendation to Cabinet on this matter before the end of this year.”

Last year, emissions from a single cruise ship visit in Wellington were the equivalent to more than  200,000 extra cars per day, according to Emission Impossible director Dr Gerda Kuschel. 

Her calculation found that was nearly more emissions than all of Wellington’s cars in one day.

The Annex VI will be in place for those nations signed to the agreement, currently 91,  from January 1, 2020. 

The type of fuel burned by diesel engines in ships typically results in higher amount of various pollutant gases and ultra-fine particle emissions, compared to car engines.
JOHN BISSET/STUFFThe type of fuel burned by diesel engines in ships typically results in higher amount of various pollutant gases and ultra-fine particle emissions, compared to car engines.

It would mean all cruise ships visiting New Zealand ports would need to meet much tighter requirements, she said. 

“That might mean that although more ships come here, the local impact might be much reduced due to lower sulphur fuels.” 

WellingtonNZ General Manager David Perks said it was “a very interesting time” for how to balance economic growth with climate change. 

New Zealand is one of just two countries in the OECD not signed to an international agreement requiring ships to run on cleaner fuel.
MONIQUE FORD/STUFFNew Zealand is one of just two countries in the OECD not signed to an international agreement requiring ships to run on cleaner fuel.

“It’s crucial that the tourism industry becomes leaders in sustainability as people become increasingly conscious of the emissions their travel produces,” he said. 

“They want to know change is being made in the destinations they visit to make it worthwhile.”  

MOT International Connections manager Tom Forster said cabinet would be receiving advice on potential Annex VI accession. 

“A decision to accede would be followed by a treaty examination, including a select committee process. 

Shipping has been highlighted by the Ministry for the Environment as an emerging issue, but the country has no regulation on air quality from ships.
KEVIN STENT/STUFFShipping has been highlighted by the Ministry for the Environment as an emerging issue, but the country has no regulation on air quality from ships.

“This will provide interested parties with a further opportunity to express their views.” 

The 123-ship season beats 110 in 2019 and 82 in 2018. In 2007-2008 just 38 cruise ships berthed in Wellington. 

Shipping has been highlighted by the Ministry for the Environment as an emerging issue, but the country has no regulation on air quality from ships.

The Marlborough District Council has previously said there would be strong benefits for the region – in particular Picton and the Marlborough Sounds – if New Zealand signed the global agreement.

StraitNZ CEO Louise Struthers said Bluebridge supported the signing of the treaty, and would be able to comply with any new requirements within its existing fleet. 

Interislander general manager Walter Rushbrook said KiwiRail made a submission in favour of adopting Annex VI. 

Kiwirail is in the process of replacing its ferry fleet with two new larger ferries, which will be capable of complying with international standards, including the Annex VI. 

“Having long-term certainty of fuel and emissions regulations is necessary as we embark on a major fleet investment programme.” 


The 29 projects sharing multi-million-dollar grant for low emission transport ideas

The Warehouse, KiwiRail and Meridian Energy are among 29 organisations sharing a grant of $4.5 million from the Government for low emission transport projects. 

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said it’s the largest round of funding delivered through the Government’s Low Emission’s Vehicles Contestable Fund so far. 

The grants will include $4.5 million from the Government, matched by $12 million from the private sector, the minister said on Thursday. 

“Smart investments like this are why under this Government the number of electric vehicles on our roads has nearly tripled. In October 2017, we had 5363 registered electric vehicles (EVs) compared to 15,453 now.”

The 29 projects granted funding range from increasing the number of availability of public charging stations to heavy electric truck trials. 

The Warehouse, for example, is getting a $257,287 grant to lease four electric trucks for daily home delivery function. The company plans to locate them in Auckland, Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu. 

Meridian Energy will get $150,000 to install up to 14 electric vehicle charging stations in businesses in Otago and Canterbury, to add to available charging infrastructure. 

KiwiRail – which was already given $1 billion in Budget 2019 – will get a $65,000 grant to install six electric vehicle chargers on three Interislander ferries to provide travellers with the ability to charge their electric cars and campervans. 

Kiwi Property Holdings will get $211,209 to install at least 43 charging stations at shopping malls including Sylvia Park and Lynn Mall in Auckland and The Base and Centre Place in Hamilton. 

ChargeNet NZ, which has built more than 100 charging stations across New Zealand, will receive three separate grants totalling $343,000, and will share a $318,500 grant with Orion NZ to connect South Island coasts to EVs. 

Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said transport makes up 19 percent of New Zealand’s emissions, “so this work is critical if we are going to meaningfully act on climate change”.

“These grants are part of a broader work programme to bring emissions down in New Zealand by this Government and we welcome it.”

The full list of approved projects can be viewed here

The Government’s Low Emission’s Vehicles Contestable Fund has so far committed $20.9 million to 120 projects. That has been matched by $40.7 million in applicant funding. 

A further $3.1 million in Government funding is available under the current round. The next round opening in February 2020 will also include support for e-bike storage solutions. 

The Government proposed last month an incentive scheme offering discounts of up to $8000 for zero-emission, newly imported vehicles. But imported vehicles that emit heavy emissions would be stung with a fee up to $3000. 

National leader Simon Bridges said his petition against the proposed policy has reached 10,000 signatures in just over a week. 


UK Sets Ambitious Targets To Cut Shipping Emissions

in International Shipping News,Shipping: Emission Possible 12/07/2019

All new ships for UK waters ordered from 2025 should be designed with zero-emission capable technologies, in ambitious plans set out by Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani to cut pollution from the country’s maritime sector.

The commitment is set out in the Clean Maritime Plan published today. The government is also looking at ways to incentivise the transition to zero-emission shipping and will consult on this next year.

The plan also includes a £1 million competition to find innovative ways to reduce maritime emissions and is published alongside a call for evidence to reduce emissions on UK waterways and domestic vessels.

The Clean Maritime Plan is part of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, which aims to cut down air pollution across all sectors to protect public health and the environment. It will also help deliver the United Kingdom’s commitment to be net zero on greenhouse gases by 2050.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

“Our maritime sector is vital to the success of the UK’s economy, but it must do everything it can to reduce emissions, improve air quality and tackle climate change.

“The Clean Maritime Plan sets an ambitious vision for the sector and opens up exciting opportunities for innovation. It will help make the UK a global hub for new green technologies in the maritime sector.”

The maritime sector has already taken significant strides to reduce emissions – hybrid ferries are already being used in UK waters, including in the Scottish islands and on cross-Solent journeys to the Isle of Wight. The Port of London Authority – where the Maritime Minister launched the Plan today – also uses hybrid vessels.

Sarah Kenny, Chief Executive of BMT Group and representing the Mari-UK consortium, said:

“The Clean Maritime Plan is an important step towards achieving a zero-emission future for the UK. Getting to net zero will not be easy, but it will present significant opportunities as well as the obvious challenges for all parts of our £40bn maritime sector. Maritime is already the greenest way of moving freight, but we can and must do more to reduce emissions.

“The good news is that the UK is well-placed to not only decarbonise our own economy, but also to share our expertise and capability with the rest of the world as they, too, embark on this most global of missions.

“For the first time, companies and universities from across the country have come together to collaborate through MarRI-UK, accelerating the UK’s maritime technological capabilities, particularly on decarbonisation.

“The key ingredient to realising our clean maritime ambitions is collaboration. Between companies, academia and with government. Today’s plan and government’s broader Maritime 2050 strategy, crafted with Maritime UK, provides a framework to do just that.”

Guidance has also today been issued to ports to assist them in developing air quality strategies. This will both address their own operations and support improving air quality across the country.

Tim Morris, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group and member of the Clean Maritime Council, said:

“The Clean Maritime Plan is a really valuable piece of work, setting out an ambitious path forward for the transformation of the maritime sector in the UK. It doesn’t shy away from the scale or complexity of the challenge of such a transformation. But it’s a transformation that the ports industry, along with the rest of the maritime sector and working in partnership with Government and other stakeholders, is determined to take on.”

A further consultation to increase the uptake of low carbon fuels will also take place next year.

The Clean Maritime Plan is part of the government’s Maritime 2050, a long-term strategy published in January 2019 to keep the UK as a world leader in the maritime sector for decades to come.
Source: UK Department of Transport

Shipping’s Route To A More Sustainable Future

Today, 90 percent of all goods are transported via cargo ships, making them the top carrier of worldwide trade. In fact, the screen you’re reading this on at this very moment most likely made its way to you by sea.

Despite such ubiquity, the shipping industry produces less than 3 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But with the global economy estimated to grow by 130 percent between now and 2050, shipping emissions are projected to soar as global trade increases. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), CO2 emissions could increase anywhere between 50 percent and 250 percent during that time.

CO2 is not the only environmental challenge the industry faces. Shipping also needs to control the amounts of other harmful substances its freight carriers release into the atmosphere, in particular nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.

To counteract this, shipping companies are seeking alternatives to the heavy fuel oils used by most carriers as well as ways to strip noxious particles from vessels’ exhaust gases.

New approaches with liquified natural gas

One of the most obvious alternatives to heavy fuel oils is liquefied natural gas (LNG). It’s already used as fuel by some 150 ships around the globe, and the numbers are growing, largely due to the near-zero levels of sulfur oxides (SOx) emitted by LNG vessels compared with diesel-powered ships. Sulfur oxides have been linked to both health problems (respiratory disease) and environmental phenomena (acid rain).

To cut its SOx emissions, the shipping industry has introduced restrictions in key shipping routes across the world. So far, the IMO has created four Emission Control Areas, ranging from the Baltic Sea to the coasts of North America, with a sulfur cap of 0.1 percent. The cap also applies throughout the European Union. In 2020 new IMO regulations will come into force mandating the sulfur content of marine fuels in all waters of the world to be less than 0.5 percent.

Ships have two options to reduce sulfur emissions within these limits. First, they can install desulfurization equipment, such as the Large-scale Rectangular Marine Scrubber developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group. It removes SOx from the exhaust gases emitted by marine diesel engines, purifying emissions from inexpensive heavy fuel oil to a level equivalent to more expensive low-sulfur fuels.

The second option is to use fuels with a lower sulfur content, such as LNG. As well as cutting a ship’s SOx emissions, LNG also has lower nitrogen oxide and CO2 emissions, making it a popular choice for shipping companies seeking to reduce their environmental impact.

MHI Group’s Large-scale Rectangular Marine Scrubber. Image: MHI GROUP

However, the growth of LNG as a shipping fuel is limited by a lack of infrastructure for fueling — or “bunkering,” as the LNG fueling process is known. Currently, only a dozen ports around the world offer bunkering, the majority based in Europe.

While more bunkering stations are planned, a major breakthrough occurred in 2017 when the world’s first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel began operating from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The ENGIE Zeebrugge carries out ship-to-ship bunkering. Traditionally, LNG-fueled ships have largely depended on fixed bunker locations or the limited bunkering capacity of LNG trailers, but the ENGIE Zeebrugge can service a variety of these ships. This unique vessel is the start of what its operator, Gas4Sea, plans to be an LNG-bunkering fleet.

A return to electricity

Although LNG has advantages over diesel, there are also drawbacks. Not only is LNG dependent on widespread bunkering infrastructure, but it also pollutes more than diesel when it comes to one particular greenhouse gas: methane.

To avoid increasing methane emissions — which are 30 times more potent than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere — some shipping operators are looking to emulate the auto industry’s shift to electric vehicles. Boats, in fact, used electricity before diesel; the Bergen Electric Ferry Company in Norway began operating in 1894. Its last boat with electric propulsion was converted to gasoline in 1926, and later to diesel. In 2015, the company returned to its roots, once again operating an electric ferry, powered by 12 5kWh lithium-ion batteries. The ferry runs all day and charges its batteries at night.

The rapid advances in lithium-ion battery technology, pioneered by the auto industry, have put the spotlight on electricity as a potential fuel source for shipping. However, regular nighttime charging is not an option for shipping liners traveling great distances, and the battery technology does not yet exist that could power these vessels.

One solution, again with a nod to the auto industry, may be hybrid electric vessels. Norwegian shipping company Eidesvik Offshore, which already runs its ships with LNG, successfully retrofitted a battery system in 2017 to its vessel Viking Princess. The ship now runs on a combination of a battery pack for energy storage and three LNG-fueled engines. The batteries are estimated to have cut Viking Princess’ fuel use by nearly a third and its emissions by 18 percent.

Shipping, which early on was powered by the wind and nothing more, has yet to return to its roots as renewably fueled transportation. But buoyed by ingenuity, it’s clearly sailing in the right direction.

The Government wants to provide discounts for importing cleaner cars to New Zealand

Seriously, why has this taken so long?

The Government is signalling its intention to slash the price of imported electric and hybrid vehicles by up to $8000 in a bid to make greener cars cheaper for Kiwis.

But it is also planning to slap a new fee of up to $3000 on the import of vehicles with the highest greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government has today opened a six-week consultation period before it introduces new legislation in Parliament later this year.

The plan, according to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, will get more Kiwis into cleaner vehicles by reducing some of the cost burden.

It would come into force in 2021.

“Most Kiwis want to buy a car that’s good for the environment, but tell us the upfront cost and limited choice makes it a challenge,” she said.

The Government is proposing discounts of up to $8000 for zero-emission new imported vehicles, such as electric vehicles (EVs).

That number would be $6800 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) and $4800 for hybrids.

The level of the discount depends on the total net emissions of the vehicle.

For example, a new Hyundai Ioniq – which has an approximate retail value of just under $60,000 – would cost $52,000 after the full $8000 discount.

A Hyundai Ioniq battery electric vehicle (BEV). Cars like Hyundai's Loniq battery electric vehicle (BEV) are poised to become more common. Photo / Supplied
A Hyundai Ioniq battery electric vehicle (BEV). Cars like Hyundai’s Loniq battery electric vehicle (BEV) are poised to become more common. Photo / Supplied

A used Mazda Axela, which is one of New Zealand’s most popular imported vehicles, would cost $7200 after an $800 discount.

But a new Land Rover Sports V8 would be slapped with a $3000 high-emissions fee.

A $22,000 Toyota Hiace would cost an extra $1400 after the fee was applied.

Genter said the policy would be cost neutral – meaning the money gained through the fees from higher emitting vehicles would offset the subsidies provided to the lower emission cars.

The plan, according to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, will get more Kiwis into cleaner vehicles by reducing some of the cost burden. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The plan, according to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, will get more Kiwis into cleaner vehicles by reducing some of the cost burden. Photo / Mark Mitchell

“This means people will still have choice, while contributing to the task of cleaning up the vehicles coming into New Zealand.”

The policy would only apply to new and used cars being imported into New Zealand, not to vehicles already registered in New Zealand when on-sold.

Some 74 per cent of annual vehicles sales are of vehicles already registered and these would not be affected, Genter said.

According to data from NZ Transport, there are more than 3.2 million petrol cars on New Zealand’s roads. That compares to almost 15,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand.

The Motor Industry Association’s chief executive David Crawford said the Government’s moves were sensible.

Although the industry doesn’t agree with all of the Government’s proposals, it was keen to ensure that it is successful in reducing CO2 emissions from the light vehicle fleet in New Zealand, Crawford said.

“Our view is that the best policies to achieve a reduction in emissions are those that influence purchasing decisions. Changes in models supplied to New Zealand will follow if the demand is altered.”

Greenpeace has welcomed the Government’s move as a “good first step”, but thinks the fee on higher emitting vehicles should be much higher.

“It’s disappointing to see the maximum fee for highly polluting vehicles capped at $3,000. Would this make someone buying a more than $100,000 gas guzzler reconsider?” said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Amanda Larsson.

“In France, for example, the top penalty is more than three times greater than what the New Zealand Government is proposing.”

The Government is also looking to introduce new clean car standards, which would require vehicle importers to reduce the average emissions by meeting an annual emission target.

Emissions targets would be phased in gradually.

Genter said the economic evaluation shows the benefits of the clean car standard outweigh the costs by a factor of 3 to 1.

“The majority of the economic benefits are to motorists who will save $6800 per vehicle and $3.4 billion collectively over the lifetime of the vehicles affected.”

She said the policy is forecast to reduce emissions by 5.1 million tonnes.

“These policies are about making cleaner vehicles a realistic option for more New Zealand households and businesses.”

The consultation period will run from today through to August 20. Genter said a bill making these policies law will go before the House between September and November.

The move comes after the draft Independent Climate Change Committee’s (ICCC) report into how New Zealand can reach the 100 per cent renewable target, obtained by the Herald, revealed the committee recommended the Government prioritises getting more electric vehicles on the road over reaching 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035.

Why is Government dragging its wheels on electric cars?

Credits: Newshub Nation.

On the campaign trail, Jacinda Ardern claimed climate change was her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”.

But nearly two years on, her Government has yet to take one of the most obvious steps to cut New Zealand’s emissions.

“Electric vehicles [EVs] can reduce New Zealand’s emissions profile more than nearly anything else,” says Mark Gilbert, chair of lobby group Drive Electric.

“There have been promises made, dates quoted and not met. This is meant to be the delivery year and still nothing.”

The Productivity Commission has said 80 percent of car imports will need to be electric by 2030, and nearly all New Zealand’s fleet by 2050, if we’re to meet our climate targets.

In 2018 just 1.7 percent of imports were electric, and they currently make up just 0.3 percent of our fleet.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, both from the Green Party, are responsible for developing the Government’s EV strategy. Both spent 2018 promising an EV strategy would be released by September of that year, but now they won’t even say if it will be released in 2019.

When asked by Newshub Nation whether the deadline could be met in months, or even next year, Shaw replied: “I couldn’t tell you.”

So, why the hold-up?

“There are things we could do pretty quickly, but they could have a negative effect on low-income households,” says Shaw.

What Shaw is referring to is a feebate scheme where a levy on petrol and diesel vehicles is used to subsidise electric vehicles.

“You can imagine, for example, a poor Mangere family without great public transport options, quite a long way out of town, really does rely on their petrol vehicle and doesn’t have the money to go electric because the up-front purchase cost is so high,” he says.

“They’re in a position where they’re going to be buying a cheap second-hand car and at the moment their only option is a combustion engine vehicle.

“So we’re mindful that any transition has to be of equal or greater benefit for people who are in those circumstances, as well as urban middle-class families with choices.”

Other countries like Norway use tax incentives to encourage EV uptake. Drive Electric has suggested that adjusting the Fringe Benefit Tax or GST could boost the number of EVs in company fleets.

“Companies roll their fleets every two to three years so these vehicles will quickly end up in the second-hand market, which will make them more accessible,” says Gilbert.

However, the 2019 budget put no money toward encouraging electric car uptake, and with the Productivity Commission’s first target 10 years away, it raises the question of whether New Zealand is in line to miss its targets.

“I think it is achievable,” says Shaw, “but in a non-linear way.”

“The uptake of electric vehicles has actually been exponential and that will steepen over time.”

Some businesses are ploughing ahead regardless: Meridian Energy has already transitioned half of its fleet to electric and will hit 75 percent by July.

“We want to have a fully electrified fleet across all of our sites and assets at the latest by 2030, I think we’ll easily get there by 2025,” says Nick Robilliard, Meridian’s fleet manager.

“The best thing the Government can do is continue working on different incentives.

“Certainly a feebate system and scheme, introduced in a modest way and progressively managed over time I think is a sensible, fiscally responsible sort of way that they could do it.”

Auckland EV owner Russell Baillie is the proud owner of a Nissan Leaf.

“It’s the best car I’ve ever owned,” he says.

The Baillie family has gone all-out to improve its environmental footprint. Their house is incredibly energy-efficient, designed to capture heat during the day and retain it at night, with no heating required during the winter.

It is also powered by solar panels and has its own battery storage and even a green roof.

But it’s the electric car making the biggest difference to the Baillies’ emissions profile, and with the Government dragging its wheels, more people like them are going to have to lead the way.

Newshub Nation.

Wild weather hits the south with 120kmh wind gusts and heavy rain

South Port and Bluff harbour during gale force winds on Wednesday where shipping containers have been blown into the water.
JOHN HAWKINSSouth Port and Bluff harbour during gale force winds on Wednesday where shipping containers have been blown into the water.

Shipping containers have been blown into the Bluff harbour as severe weather hits Southland.

A stevedore said several 40ft containers, which were in a stack of five high, had blown over, some falling into the water.

It is believed about 10 were in the water.

It's another rainy day in Invercargill.
KAVINDA HERATHIt’s another rainy day in Invercargill.

The containers were empty and tug boats in the water were out securing them.

“It’s very rare.”

The stevedore expected the containers to eventually sink and then be pulled out by a crane.

South Port chief executive Nigel Gear said the “current situation is that, due to particularly strong winds, some containers have been dislodged from the stack and have landed both in the yard and also into the berth area”.

“The container terminal therefore has been closed down for safety reasons (standard practice) and we are currently working through the process of securing the containers that have fallen into the berth.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, especially the wind conditions, over the next 24 hours.”

Up the road, Invercargill is the windiest place in the country at the moment, being hit by forceful 120kmh westerly wind gusts and persistent rain.

There are power outages throughout the region with some businesses closing early because of no power. 

Air New Zealand flights both arriving and departing the city had been delayed. 

Severe weather warnings and watches have been issued for severe westerly quarter gales with the Canterbury High Country and coastal Clutha, Southland and Stewart Island most at risk.

Metservice data showed just over 4mm of rain had fallen in Invercargill so far on Wednesday.

Fourteen millimetres of rain was forecast for the day.

Wind watches and warnings are expected to ease on Wednesday night. However, the strong winds were forecast to continue, not dropping below 30kmh until 6pm Thursday.

Metservice forecast 22mm of rain to fall on Thursday as well.

Several places throughout the country recorded gusts over 100kmh on Tuesday.

Stewart Island saw the biggest gust with 148kmh, while Castlepoint saw 119kmh. Both Remutaka Hill near Wellington and Swampy Summit near Dunedin saw gusts of 113kmh.

A road snowfall warning has been issued for the Crown Range Rd and the Milford Rd. 

Snow showers are expected to affect higher parts of the Crown Range Rd between midday and 6pm on Thursday, when 1cm or less of snow may settle on
the road above 900 metres. 

Snow showers were expected to affect the summit of the Milford Road between 10pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday, when 1 or 2cm of snow may settle. 

Why NZ is cheating on its emissions from flights, shipping and imported goods

Schoolgirl activist Greta Thunberg blasted the UK for “very creative carbon accounting” because it doesn’t count emissions from global flights or shipping.

And New Zealand is also excluding international aviation and navigation (shipping) from its carbon budgets.

Environmental groups say that is breaching the landmark Paris Agreement, signed four years ago.

But Climate Minister James Shaw has defended the practice, arguing the emissions are monitored under two separate international agreements.

Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg.
GETTY IMAGESSwedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg.

Stuff asked the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) for emissions for aviation and shipping. Those units are measured in kilotonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (kt CO2-e).

Those from global flights have risen significantly from 1332.9 kt CO2-e in 1990, to 3702.7 kt CO2-e in 2017, the last available figure.

International navigation has dropped slightly:  from 1055.9 kt CO2-e to 916.4 kt CO2-e, across the same period.

And while those numbers are recorded in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory, they are not reported under its international obligations.

Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says Greta Thunberg "has a point" on international transport emissions.
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFFMinister of Climate Change James Shaw says Greta Thunberg “has a point” on international transport emissions.

“That’s because the Paris Agreement doesn’t include aviation and shipping,” Shaw says. “They are handled via separate agreements – the aviation one is called Corsia, and the shipping one is Marpol.

“We are also working through those agreements.

“Now, I think Greta Thunberg makes a good point, that for visibility, we ought to get everything all in one place, and I think you can make that case, but we built the zero carbon bill around the Paris agreement, and that is why it is structured that way.”

Shaw is correct: international shipping and aviation were left out of the national targets under the Paris Agreement, because they don’t happen within the boundaries of any specific countries and tracking their emissions through the global supply chain is difficult.

As well as that, a good fuel alternative isn’t yet available.

Instead, under the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement, we submit overall territorial emissions figures to the UN. In New Zealand, the bulk of those emissions come from agriculture (48 per cent) and energy (41 per cent). In 2017, our gross greenhouse gas emissions were 80,853 kt CO2-e.

Greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - from burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming when released into the atmosphere.
APGreenhouse gases – mainly carbon dioxide – from burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming when released into the atmosphere.

Shipping produces 2.4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and aviation yields about two per cent. Both are also projected to rise dramatically by 2050. 

Marpol is short for marine pollution – but New Zealand is one of a handful of countries yet to sign up to a sixth part of the agreement, which focuses on reducing shipping fumes.


The global economy runs on shipping and air freight. And tourism is New Zealand’s biggest export sector.

New Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment figuresforecast international arrivals will rise on average by 4 per cent annually. The industry hopes to earn $50 billion by 2025.

Shaw says flag carrier airline Air New Zealand, with majority government ownership, is trying to drive down emissions while expanding the business. 

“I’m actually pretty pleased with the leadership that Air NZ is showing on aviation emissions… [chief executive] Chris Luxon reckons that we will have electric aeroplanes, at least for our regional routes, at least within 10 years or so.

“Obviously the big one is international and it will take a lot longer for the technology to develop there.

“But they have got a significant off-setting programme…it’s not ideal, but the next best thing you can do is off-set and I would encourage people to off-set if their work involves travel.”

International shipping from New Zealand isn't counted in its emissions reporting.
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFFInternational shipping from New Zealand isn’t counted in its emissions reporting.

Under the UN Paris pact, Air New Zealand must report its domestic flight emissions to the Government. But other countries – like China – haven’t signed up to those obligations. 

“The truth is that we have a lot of airlines in parts of the world which are expanding rapidly, they are very low cost, they are leasing in, or buying, second-hand planes from the leading airlines [which] are much less fuel efficient. So, for all the good work that is happening with some airlines, unfortunately you are seeing much more expansion on the other side. It is an area of real concern.”

Amanda Larsson, of Greenpeace, says Nz should be "pushing hard"  for the inclusion of aviation and shipping into international emissions agreements.
SUPPLIEDAmanda Larsson, of Greenpeace, says Nz should be “pushing hard” for the inclusion of aviation and shipping into international emissions agreements.

Shaw is less effusive about shipping.

“Ships tend to use the lowest quality, highest emissions fuels. Bunker oil, which is basically dirty sludge. There is a lot of work to be done there.”

“There are some things we can do here in New Zealand – with the ferries, some of our coastal fleets, and fishing, but that is pretty small fry when you compare it to the freight routes.

“We can supply ships with cleaner fuel here in New Zealand. The question is: are the ships able to swap fuel types? That is why international co-operation is so important.  

“We have to make sure those fuels are available in every port …And that we are putting pressure on the shipping lines to swap out the dirty old technologies for much cleaner alternatives.”


Amanda Larsson, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, agrees we are cheating on our emissions reporting.

“And it is predominantly wealthy countries where people have the resources to be able to do international travel that aren’t accounting for those emissions,” she said.

“Developing countries are already bearing the brunt of the climate impact of our warming world and carbon industries, like poor air quality and health effects.

“The fact that wealthier countries, like New Zealand and the UK, with a high proportion of carbon emissions can say ‘we are reducing our emissions aren’t we great,’ while offloading a lot of those emissions onto developing countries or not accounting for them all as in the case of aviation is an injustice, and a bit hypocritical.”

New Zealand doesn't count the emissions from goods it imports from other countries.
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFFNew Zealand doesn’t count the emissions from goods it imports from other countries.

Larsson says New Zealand should be one of the strongest voices for the decarbonisation of global aviation. That would include counting emissions from tourism and flights arriving here. She’d also like to see a levy on international tourism, that is ring-fenced to invest in carbon-lowering activities.

“We are country that is reliant on international tourism and has a culture of travelling overseas…we can’t have sustainable tourism in New Zealand if it’s growth is fuelled by aeroplanes that are powered by fossil fuels.”

We are also ‘outsourcing’ a chunk of other emissions. Around 22 per cent of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of consumer goods that are exported to a different country, according to a 2012 study.

“It effectively means effectively means that we in New Zealand are offloading those emissions from our consumption on countries like China, or wherever those products are produced,” Larsson said.

“People often complain that New Zealand is too small to have an impact on the climate and what really needs to happen is for China to act. That is actually ignoring the critical point that we are driving the production of a lot of these products in China and driving up China’s emissions from the consumption of products [and] then we don’t account for them.”

In April, the European Transport & Environment non-governmental organisation agreed with Thunberg’s stance – and said they believe it is a breach of the Paris Agreement. 

Aviation manager Andrew Murphy told the Guardian: “We believe the Paris agreement is clear that international aviation and shipping should be included in national climate targets. Paris calls for a bottom-up approach so individual states can include what they want in their budgets. We don’t see this outsourcing of responsibility by governments for international aviation and shipping as consistent with Paris. It breaches the agreement.”

The UK claims its greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 42 per cent since 1990. Thunberg claimed  the true reduction was about 10 per cent.