How green is New Zealand’s electricity?
The Climate Change Commission has recommended that the government set a date for the end of coal-fired electricity generation. While this would appear to be a worthwhile goal, a move to entirely do away with fossil fuel-based generation would likely be both far less practical and much more costly than many New Zealanders realise.
How much fossil fuel is in New Zealand’s food?
Producing dairy, meat, and even many vegetables takes a lot more energy than most of us ever consider. Currently, much of that energy comes from fossil fuels. These relatively low-cost energy sources have kept New Zealand’s food prices low – even if we may think otherwise at the checkout. A rapid move away from fossil fuels before viable alternatives are available could have dire consequences for the average Kiwi.
Does New Zealand’s economy even need coal?
In reality, coal’s not a big source of energy in New Zealand. It accounts for 7% of our total energy supply. In the United States it’s 12%, the European Union 14%, China 62%, and Australia 31%. Seven percent might not sound much, but if we take a look at who’s using coal in New Zealand, and why they haven’t stopped already, it’s clear it’s not easy to put our coal consumption on the back burner anytime soon.