The EPA welcomes the Productivity Commission’s latest report which calls for a shared, long-term vision on climate change to transform to a low-emissions economy, says Dr Allan Freeth, Chief Executive of the Environmental Protection Authority.
“The EPA’s submission on the report last year, highlighted three mains points to a vision for a low-emissions economy including: new thinking around our climate change approach, more cross-government collaboration, and incorporating operational perspectives into decision-making early.
“With multiple agencies and parties working on climate change, there are many opportunities to reset our thinking, and drive new and more efficient behaviours throughout New Zealand.
“The EPA is well positioned to support the national response to climate change,” says Dr Freeth.
“We administer the Emissions Trading Scheme and the NZ Emissions Trading Register that holds around 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of privately-held assets.
“When you consider the value of these assets some of these entities hold in the NZ Emissions Trading Register, it’s important we deliver efficiencies and have a secure and robust system.
“Our ETS team is on the ground, actively engaging with all entities who play a part in climate change,” says Dr Freeth.
“The New Zealand Emissions Trading Register has been upgraded to better support current functions and have more flexibility for future needs, like the introduction of auctioning into the ETS.
“We are already looking at how to improve our operations for the EPA and the customers, exploring new ways to deliver carbon market information, and testing new ways to get the best out of compliance and enforcement tools.
“New Zealand has also made a good start on addressing ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal convention,” says Dr Freeth.
“Our scientific work to review and approve hazardous substances and new organism applications, will continue to be important as leading-edge science continues to deliver new approaches which may result in lower emissions.
“We are also exploring things like mapping New Zealand’s chemical loading, which will help build comprehensive data of where hazardous substances are stored, like fertilisers, which could possibly support work on agricultural emissions.
“As New Zealand’s proactive environmental regulator, we are always looking at how to better use our experience and strong track record of using evidence, science, and mātauranga Māori to inform decision-making processes,” says Dr Freeth.