Time to be courageous

When Māui stole fire for us and generations to come from Mahuika, he had to quickly avoid her wrath. Māui changed himself into a kahu (hawk) and escaped to the sky, but the flames burned so high that they singed the underside of his wings, turning them a glowing red. 

NZ commitment on climate change
In April 2018 when Jacinda Ardern stated that permits for offshore oil and gas exploration will no longer be issued by the New Zealand Government as part of its commitment to a clean energy future – others turned puce. Since then however Ireland has become world's first country to divest from fossil fuels. Recent Irish legislation means more than €300m shares in coal, oil, peat and gas will be sold ‘as soon as practicable’. Meanwhile to date Norway’s huge $1tn sovereign wealth fund has partially divested from fossil fuels, targeting some coal companies. (Norway is still considering its oil and gas holdings).

The Prime Minister’s move is in response to New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Accord., New Zealand is currently tracking for <3C climate rise above 1990 levels. This is inconsistent with holding warming below 2C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5C limit.

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We understand from James Bushell (Chair of One Percent Collective) that the liabilities to fulfil the Paris Accord will in time be in the Government Accounts.  How the [contingent] liability will be pushed down to agencies and business is currently unclear, but perhaps partly in anticipation of the Climate Change bill 60 NZ leaders met this month to determine what their Companies could each achieve.

Business Leaders respond

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In The Spinoff  – Jihee Junn interviewed Mike Bennetts (CE of Z Energy) who responded on behalf of the Climate Leaders Coalition group to the question of NZ companies’ ability to move the dial on climate change that “Symbolism’s nice and it’s helpful, but it doesn’t necessarily deliver results. The important thing is that each of us takes actions to deliver results and be confident that one or more of these companies will come up with a great way to do something”. 

We share that from recently working with Landcare subsidiary Enviro-Mark Solutions (who administer the CarboNZero and CEMARS certification process) that the 60 companies making the pledge is a marked step up on the 13 NZX disclosers as recorded by international agency CDP in 2017. We await to see exactly the level of internationally accepted standards are applied to the verification process. 

Doing good and doing well
Mike Bennetts inferred to Jihee Junn that doing good did not have to be economically disadvantageous. “Other New Zealand businesses could benefit from that experience or that could be something that we could either share or even sell overseas if there’s a proprietary technology. For example, there are things being done in the agricultural sector to try and find ways to reduce emissions through technology and it would be really great to make money out of that by selling that solution to somebody else”. 

Flick Electric recently shared that “Harnessing the power of the wind is nothing new (though it's pretty darn brilliant!). But harnessing the wind gusts from passing traffic? Now that's an innovative (and equally brilliant) idea! Turkish company Devici Tech is currently developing the Enlil Turbine, a wind turbine with long, vertical blades that will allow high-traffic areas to generate renewable, sustainable energy. ... The top of the turbine also holds a solar panel to generate power from the sun, too, allowing each turbine to produce 1 kilowatt of electricity per hour”. 

Conclusion
Directionally and decisively we are entering a new era of care for the environment. Whether you agree with the process or otherwise the PM’s call on new oil exploration shows leadership above the minutiae. Remembering those to come action is required so the singe from the underwing of the native hawk of Aotearoa is the only red we see on our horizon and pass onto the next.

InsightsBrian Steele