Will it really make enough difference to be worth the pain?

The Government Policy Statement 2018 (GPS 2018) is out in draft for comment.

There has been much commentary about the CoL bloviating about modal shift and climate change and public transport and cycling and walking and rail and getting those evil drivers out of the single-occupant vehicle trips etc etc.

The 2017 figures for the world’s CO2 emissions by country are available from the EU-sourced EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research). Clicking on the New Zealand link gets this page:

EDGAR data for NZ

As you can see, New Zealand is pumping out 33.276 Mt CO2/year. The world total is 35,755.322 Mt CO2/year. So, the New Zealand contribution is 0.093% of the world total.

Paragraph 108 of the GPS 2018 states, “Transport accounts for 18 percent of New Zealand?s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Paragraph 109 of the GPS 2018 continues, “Ninety percent of New Zealand?s transport emissions?come from road transport, with light vehicles (cars and?other vehicles under 3.5 tonnes) alone accounting for 67?percent.” (Let’s, generously, assume that it is not 67% of 90%.)

If we multiply all this out we get 0.093 x 0.18 x 0.67 = 0.011% of the world CO2 emission coming from you and me using our cars for essential, or even non-essential, journeys.

So, if we all follow JAG and Phil’s lead and forsake our cars for bicycles, walking, taking the non-existent (for most of NZ) public transport in order to save the planet and completely remove ALL light vehicles (this includes all the tradies, rural delivery, courier vans, taxis, Ubers, Driving Miss Daisy franchisees, pizza deliveries etc) we will remove one one-hundredth of one percent of the evil CO2 that is going to fry us all in several hundred years’ time (or not, as it seems to have been proven that the alarmists have got their physics all wrong anyway).

What price virtue signalling?

Paragraph 110 of the GPS 2018 states,“Compared internationally, New Zealand?s use of transport?is emissions intensive. New Zealand has the ninth highest?per capita transport emissions of all countries with?populations over 1 million.”

Well, whoopee-do! Perhaps geography and a low distributed population is a factor? (It wasn’t mentioned as a factor by the GPS 2018 authors.)

Paragraph 111 of the GPS 2018 continues, “Ensuring the land transport system enables better?environmental outcomes is a key priority of GPS 2018.” Is saving a diddly-squat amount of CO2 from the NZ light-vehicle fleet worth all the pain they want to inflict on our pockets with the tax and the extra cost component of everyone travelling at 70kph on highway journeys? I don’t think so!

Paragraph 113 of the GPS 2018 states, “The most significant environmental challenges, and?opportunities, for transport are to help achieve?New Zealand?s goal as part of the Paris Agreement target?of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent?below 2005 levels by 2030, and to meet the Government?s?commitment of setting a more ambitious emissions?reduction target for 2050.”

And that, right there, is the money quote!

According to EDGAR, New Zealand’s 2005 contribution was?36531.08 kton CO2. Taking 30% off that leaves 25,571.7 kton CO2. Currently we are at 33,276.2 kton CO2 so we need to get rid of another 7704.5 kton CO2/yr and, according to the GPS 2018, the light-vehicle fleet contributes 4013.10 kton CO2/yr. So, even removing the entire light-vehicle fleet still leaves us short of the Paris target. Oh dear!

They have it solved in paragraph 115: Quote. “The Government will also encourage uptake of lower?emission vehicles, including electric cars, buses, trains?and bikes, and low-emission fuels like bio-fuel. […]” End of quote.

Yeah, whatevah…

The one interesting line on the graph above is the CO2/capita figure. Apparently, over the 47 years since 1970, this has dropped from around 8 to just over 7 ton CO2 per person per year.

Are we getting any praise for that 12% reduction in our individual outputs, as we all diligently strive to save the planet? I certainly have not had my congratulatory message.

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