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Mark SkeldingMakes A Stand At Council

Mark Skelding has an excellent grasp of climate change and has a knack of being able to gently push our reluctant bench of councillors in the right direction, though you would not initially believe it when observing our yor's reluctance at today's meeting - rather like dragging a horse to watrer, but failing in digestion aspect.

Here is Mark's submission in full - published by permission, and in full - it is that good:

CO2 Mitigation Suggestions to TCDC – May 2019

We encourage your council to review the stocktake of emissions reduction activities and give thought to which actions undertaken in other councils could be replicated in your own council and community.

Every small change that your council makes to the way in which it operates will ultimately help to reduce emissions.

Every small change that your council makes to the way in which it operates will ultimately help to reduce emissions. While the changes that your council can make might seem minor in the big scheme of things, if wholesale reductions in emissions are to result, all New Zealanders need to make changes to their behaviour. (LGNZ – September 2018)

A New Zealander is responsible for around twice the emissions of someone in the UK, and about 7 times the amount of someone in India. We need to think in terms of per capita emissions rather than per nation, because its not the national entity that needs a climate, it is each citizen.

1: Adopt and promote a “Net Zero Coromandel” policy of reducing the district's greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035.

This 15 year project would achieve net-zero locally in advance of the New Zealand Government's target date of 2050. This advancement reflects both the urgency of addressing mitigation issues but also the perceived advantages to be gained by becoming a leader in this endeavour which can be achieved here because of our relatively small popluation, the opportunity for developing new employment that net-zero thinking stmulates, and to build on the area's reputation for thinking “outside the box”. Local businessman Don Snowden is anything but a naive dreadlocked treehugger, but when I was talking to him about solar energy he said: “look, everybody thinks the Coromandel is full of hippies and greeneis – if we can turn this to our advantage, we should”.

Ultimately, this would mean that carbon reduction would become an over-riding focus for TCDC planning decisions. For a Net-zero Coromandel TCDC needs to set an example of leadership-

2: Start with a TCDC climate audit on its own premises, activities, business dealings, and transactions.

This would include:

  • •  reporting on TCDC exposure to climate change impacts both materially and financially, and making steps to mitigate these,
  • •  steering TCDC funds towards sustainable in-District investing, and
  • •  directing the Economic Development Unit to make Net- Zero a priority above mere financial objectives.
  • •  TCDC units would develop, maintain and disseminate projections on how climate change will affect the district's economic activities, and highlight and promote opportunities for initiatives to address climate change issues of resilience, justice and equity.

You don't have to believe in human-driven climate collapse to believe that there's a business case to be made here, especially when initiatives to achieve reduced emissions will, inevitably, attract central funding over the years ahead.

Some immediate areas to address are in regard to energy usage, both by TCDC and in the community. For example:

Replace TCDC petrol fleet with Electric Vehicles 

EVs are proving to be economical to run (equivalent to 30c/litre for petrol) and require much lower maintenance costs.                                                                                                                                                   EECA's January round for Low Emissions vehicles has several $100,000 dollars being spent on buying EVs for fleets – Ryman Healthcare, PPCS Cleaners, and more. Thanks to efforts by local people and community groups (yay John and T3)

Coromandel enjoys being the most EV-ready district in the country with fast chargers right around the Peninsula.

That 30c/litre petrol equivalent references using Grid electricity. However, if you were to install solar on Council property, or to enter an agreement with a local solar project, this figure could further reduced. It would be timely to do this since the 2017 Vivid Report into energy noted that to replace fossil fuel energy in New Zealand – primarily transport – would require 75% more generation over 2015 levels. The Vivid report notes that this need is likely to increase “energy poverty” - so

Save money and demonstrate alternative energy solutions by solarising all council buildings -

Eric has been in touch with staff, and has some specific figures on this.

Furthermore, I am delighted to be able to inform you that the

HAURAKI RESILIENT COMMUNITIES TRUST has been established, with Thames Business Association founding trustee Geoff Furkert as chairman. HRCT is committed to locally owned renewable energy, and is pursuing a vision, much as developed in the Thames Urban Development Strategy, to be providing affordable local energy.

HRCT has approached the Toyota company to take up its offer of using the factory rooftop as a solar bank.Infratec NZ has estimated that the roof is sufficient to generate power for around 200 households, and HRCT will shortly be pursuing a full feasibility study on this.

We note that a T3-TransitionTownThames energy research project, enabled by Wintec and local busniessman Carl Edmonds, showed that Thames housholds spent $5.47m per annum on power in 2016 – keeping this money local will create a multiplier effect – in Taupo in 2006 the total expenditure multiplier for energy was found to be 2.92. If this held true in Thames, they effect on the local economy would be equivalent to a $15.97m injection.

TCDC can support the HRCT initiative by becoming acornerstone customer, and by recommending businesses throughout the Peninsula to take advantage of this project as it comes on-stream.

This would be part of TCDC Promoting Emissions Reduction Targets to all Business Ratepayers, which would include energy and waste.

Develop a zero-emissions strategy for waste -

this involves addressing how food waste is kept from the waste stream. As we will hear shortly.

But its also about how ratepayers' money is spent, and so TCDC can ask Smart to have a plan for Electric rubbish trucks (as used in by EnviroWaste in Hamitlon city).

So, as part of the Net-Zero approach, TCDC will have a policy that actively seeks suppliers with environmental sustainability considerations and gives preference to goods and services that use renewable energy sources, recycled and/or non-toxic materials, reusable goods, local companies, with efficient and equitable practice.

We note that local multiplier effects mean that spending a little more, if required, to engage a local company generates greater local economic acivity. As the Taupo example shows, this can be as much as a 3-fold benefit.

There are a number of other suggestions, and some would cost money, which is why I cut to the chase and say how vital it is to look at the opportiunitirs coming from Promoting the Coromandel as a Go-to Leader in Emissions Reductions – why?

I somewhat shudder to say – Tourism!

Promote the District as the ideal way to meet Eco-tourism objectives.

A report published by the Industry last year indicated that 87% of travellers want their tarvel to sustainable and environmentally friendly. But 48% say that this is difficult or impossible for them to do.    A 2016 study by Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research revealed that eco-tourists tend to stay longer, spend more, and believe they have a responsibility to respect the destination.

109,000 international visitors during the summer peak (TCDC 2016/17 Peak Population Report (22 December to 9 January). 50% of these made just a day trip. Most international tourists were from Europe. A flight emits around 92kg CO2 per passenger per hour. A 20 hr flight from Europe would be around 2000kg CO2. Over 40 years, a tree will absorb around 1 tonne of CO2, so planting 4 trees per visitor would be sufficient to offset one flight, and have some insurance against tree loss.

Of course, TCDC can't plant 400,000 trees every year until International Air Travel grinds to a halt or is done on electric powered Zeppelins!

However, there are other projects which tourist dollars can contribute to that will mitigate their CO2 footprint. These include replacing petrol and diesel vehicles, as outlined, and, for example, funding insulation retro-fitting programmes, having loan and grant monies to enable households to equip themselves with solar power, waste minimisation projects, to partner approriate groups to develop community EV schemes, training projects, and so on (as developed by Economic Development Unit).

Its a short term proposal, but one that builds on Don Snowden's sage advice.

Raise awareness of the issues, and what can be done – and do your bit!

As the Bank of England said this month:

"We need to work together internationally and domestically, private sector and public sector, to achieve a smooth and orderly transition. The window for that orderly transition is finite and closing. And our work to seize that opportunity could not be more important. Indeed it is not an overstatement to say that the future of our planet depends on it.

( h/2019/avoiding-the-storm- climate-change-and-the- financial-system-speech-by-sarah-breeden.pdf)


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