Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Govt policy on biofuels out during campaign

Govt policy on biofuels out during campaign

By Dene Mackenzie / ODT

Business&Money section (page 18) June 27 2005

The first major announcement on firmly establishing the biofuel industry in New Zealand is likely to be made during the coming election campaign. Transport Minister Pete Hodgson told the Otago Daily Times he hoped to announce a policy on biofuels in the next month to six weeks. �Work is under way on introducing biofuels. It is a small start but work is being done both here and overseas,� he said in an interview.

The United Nations announced last week an initiative to help developing countries exploit their renewable energy potential, such as fuels derived from agricultural crops. Biofuels such as bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas, which are derived from crops such as sugar beet and sunflowers, are an ecological alternative to conventional fossil fuels which are expected to run out soon. The UN estimates petroleum reserves will not last more than 50 years, although other studies indicate a life of 60 years. Coal reserves could last for another 200 years.
Biofuels help countries meet their Kyoto Protocol reduction targets. They offer an alternative development to burning carbon. Countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while pursuing energy targets.
Any announcement on biofuel development would be a welcome sign that something was happening to counter the damaging turnaround on Kyoto which recently saw New Zealand move from a net seller of carbon credits to a buyer from 2012 of about $1.2 billion worth of credits.

The main change from a 36-million-tonne credit to a 32-million-tonne deficit came from the re-rating of scrub land which had been clear-felled. Some agricultural science was also discounted. Mr Hodgson said he would not criticise the officials who prepared the report but felt he was entitled to a peer review of the latest figures because of the significant shift in the findings.

He was encouraged by the large number of ideas flowing into his office since the latest Kyoto announcement.
�When something is hard, some prefer to ignore it or deny that climate change is coming. Others are now saying this is something that is probably the biggest challenge we face as civilisation.�

The answer to meeting New Zealand�s Kyoto targets lay in research and development and the use of technology, Mr Hodgson said.
Meridian Energy was the largest producer of windgenerated energy in the Southern Hemisphere and had been able to do that because of the carbon credits it received. �There will be more opportunities around that.�
Mr Hodgson took another swipe at National Party leader Don Brash for statements which indicated National would find a way to get New Zealand out of Kyoto if it won the election this year. �He is wondering whether climate change exists or if it is a fantasy. That is a pitiful response from someone with access to the information he has,� Mr Hodgson said.

Kyoto Forestry Associations spokesman Roger Dickie said public support for the protocol would crumble unless it was implemented without putting funding for schools and hospitals at risk. New Zealanders strongly supported the protocol and were concerned about climate change. �But the Government has implemented the protocol incompetently. It will now end up writing large cheques to industry in Chernobyl, Gdansk and Lake Baikai [all Russia] instead of investing in energy conservation, social services, tax relief and economic development at home.�

Mr Dickie told a Parliamentary select committee that public support could be maintained if the Government implemented a free-market strategy requiring polluting industries to buy carbon credits from those that earned them by planting trees, reducing their own carbon emissions or investing in projects in the developing world to reduce emissions.

�The unpopular and unnecessary carbon tax could be dropped. Tree plantings, which have plummeted to nearly zero in 2005, would return to 1990s levels of more than 50,000ha a year.� That approach would create no risk to the taxpayer and it would create economic incentives in favour of the environment and against pollution, Mr Dickie said. (picture of Pete Hodgson)
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