Peter Hall from Scion discusses New Zealand’s energy demands and what we should think as a country about how to reduce our carbon footprint.
A country’s economic growth is closely linked to how much energy is being used. High-energy demands can have a big impact on the environment. Peter Hall suggests that, if we want to reduce our country’s carbon footprint, we need to look at how we use carbon-producing fuels. Peter explains that we need to look at three approaches if we want to improve our energy production and consumption overall: increasing energy efficiency of the things we use (for example, fuel efficient cars), improving our conservation efforts (for example, less private car use and more public transport use) and developing fuels with a small carbon footprint (for example, renewable energy and biofuels).
Points of interest
The carbon footprint describes how much carbon dioxide an individual, a business or a country emits. Every time we use a carbon dioxide-emitting fuel, we increase the size of our footprint. As a consequence, people use this term also when they are describing practices and how they affect the environment, for example, a person who recycles or grows their own vegetables in a sustainable way is said to reduce their carbon footprint.
New Zealand's energy demand is quite large, and economic growth is linked very strongly to energy use, so if you have population growth and economic growth, you tend to have increasing energy demand, and the energy demand is huge. And to make a significant impact on the greenhouse gas footprint of fuels, particularly liquid fuels like petrol and diesel, not only do you need to have more efficient use, which is, you know, having a car which uses less petrol per mile, you need to have conservation, which is use the car less, and ultimately you need to have fuels which have less of a carbon footprint, and that can be things like bio-diesel or bio-ethanol. Because it is a very, very large energy use, and if you reduce it by 10 percent from efficiency gains and another 10 percent from conservation gains, you are still using 80 percent of what we are now, and if you want to reduce your carbon footprint by 50 percent, then you have to find an alternative to fossil fuels.
Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd