We need to recognise climate change as the most urgent and important issue facing humanity. It is important to direct research funding in accordance with that view. Given the unwillingness of governments worldwide to price and regulate CO2 emissions effectively, we need to make alternative energy generation solutions cheaper, so that they are able to displace fossil fuels even on a non-level playing field where CO2 emissions aren’t priced appropriately.
The climate is changing and will continue to change for a long time. In addition to phasing out fossil fuels, we need solutions to mitigate the impact of change, both domestically and globally.
This problem is urgent and critical to solve because of its enormous economic, ecological and social impacts. However, it can also be a huge opportunity for New Zealand to be a leader in finding solutions. It has the potential to boost New Zealand’s exports and international reputation.
I have selected research themes and listed the areas of research in each theme which are going to have the most impact and can produce the most practical solutions.
I have not included other areas which in my view aren’t going to have sufficient impact on CO2 emissions such as research into energy efficiency or carbon capture and storage.
New Zealand becoming the global leader in climate change solutions
Similarly to phasing out fossil fuels from electricity generation, there are many benefits:
This research can have immediate practical applications in the context of Christchurch rebuild.
Like every other country, New Zealand needs to mitigate the effects of climate change. Due to inertia of the climate system and the still increasing global emissions, climate change will continue. Regardless of the local effects of climate change in New Zealand, it’s important to keep in mind that New Zealand imports many products from global markets and participates in the global economy. Therefore, finding solutions to mitigate climate change effects around the world is important for preserving the standard of living for New Zealanders. It also presents huge opportunities for exporting solutions.