cabbage tree

What You Need To Know About Carbon Emissions Trading Schemes

It was through the Climate Change Response Act of 2002 that the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) was born. It is a scheme that provides incentives for any ecological restoration activity that results in reducing carbon emissions; emissions created mostly by big industries and corporations. Although ETS is designed to primarily carbon emissions, the scheme has been expanded to cover all courtesy of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. 

The issue of climate change has become a major global issue, and the reduction of carbon emissions has become the battle cry all over the country. Climate change is a serious threat that has debilitating long term effects if not address promptly and correctly by everyone affected by it. 

As a landowner, you can no longer ignore the impact of climate change to your property. Shifting climate patterns and higher temperatures can affect the growth of such plants and the health of stock. Stronger greenhouse gases warm bodies of water and melt glaciers, affecting weather patterns which in turn affects your property and everything in it.

Fighting Back Climate Change With ETS

There is a way for you, as a landowner, to fight back against climate change. By applying for ETS and implementing the necessary restoration, you can make your property more resilient to the impact of climate change, protect your land for future use and development, and continue to earn from your property while protecting the environment.

Before any ETS takes place, a series of assessments is done in order to measure the carbon emissions of each industry, and to determine the measures that need to take place in order to reduce these emissions. The assessments include environmental assessment in the property, resources assessment and environmental monitoring.

The agricultural sector, which includes farmers and property owners, are required to assess their carbon emissions produced by their property and submit it as part of their obligation to ETS. This will determine the allocation or assistance provided for each farm under the ETS rule. The allocation will vary depending on the output of such farm. 

The emissions are then converted to New Zealand Units (NZU) credit. The credit can then be cancelled out by implementing measures that reduce carbon emissions or by purchasing NZUs from properties that actively reduce carbon emissions from the atmosphere. 

This is where landowners with forested areas can earn from ETS. If your property has a negative carbon footprint, you can sell its equivalent NZUs to industries who need it. 

Another way to earn NZUs is through carbon farming. Carbon farming is the process of getting rid with carbon dioxide and storing it in a form of new forests. This covers forests or restored areas that were established after 1989. With this scheme, landowners and farmers too can either sell their units or offset their carbon emissions.

To become a voluntary participant, landowners can register their property by registering their property with the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative or the East Coast Forestry Project to start earning and selling NZUs. Each application comes with a series of requirements that involve mapping the property, doing assessments and computing emissions. The application procedures are pretty straightforward but to get the most out of ETS, it’s best to consult a professional.

Not only would a professional help you with the ETS application process. We at Rural Design can go beyond that. We offer environmental assessment services to help target areas that produce the most carbon emissions and ecological restoration services to help offset that. We have rural landscape design, permaculture and replanting services to help expand your forested areas while allowing for maximum productivity. 

And with your ETS application, we can facilitate with the preliminary assessment, mapping and filing. We can assist you with the carbon unit sequestration, unit sale and offset. Every possible angle for your ETS is covered, from environmental risk assessment to its impact. We have it for you. Our list of completed projects with ETS will attest to that. 

Carbon emission reduction is for everyone and participating in the ETS can provide long term returns for you and your property. By making the most of the carbon emissions trading scheme, you can help the environment and continue to make your property productive for years to come.

Strategies for Urban Ecological Restoration

The Department of Conservation defines ecological restoration as “the process of re-establishing a self-sustaining habitat or ecosystem similar to what is likely to have existed prior to human contact, and the reintroduction of native fauna and flora and the eradication or control of pests.”
Ecological restoration usually involves a variety of projects such as 

● reforestation and revegetation using indigenous, native species of plants, trees and bushes
● removal of weeds and other non-native species
● habitat and range improvements

Ecological restoration is often implemented in rural communities where it’s possible to restore large areas and the benefits of ecological restoration are immediately visible. However, it’s seldom implemented in urban areas due to space and logistical constraints. There’s also the issue of how viable restoration efforts would be in an urban setting with factors like human activity and climate change come into play.

But ecological restoration is exactly what urban areas need. Eco-cities that co-exist with the natural ecosystem tend to be healthier and more sustainable. It is a perfect system for urban areas because it:

1. consumes fewer resources, 
2. produces less waste, 
3. is powered by sustainable resources, 
4. mitigates the impact of climate change and
5. provides a level of sufficiency that protects urban dwellers from catastrophic events.

Urban ecological restoration is challenging but not impossible. The goal with urban ecological restoration is to design a city that caters to sustainable population and ecological growth. It’s not just about turning a city greener. It’s about making a city and all its residents healthier, allowing both native plants and city dwellers to thrive even in an urban environment. 

In Auckland, for example, part of the challenge of making their city among the greenest in the world is the increasing number of inhabitants in the area, enabling Chief Sustainability Officer John Mauro to quip recently, “If the city is going to be a desirable place to live, we need to not only have housing that’s affordable and easy transport connections, we need to have green space.” It is only then that we consider human activity with ecological restoration that development will take place. 

Urban ecological restoration doesn’t have to be done in one massive step. It can be done incrementally in a number of ways: 

Roads - Instead of emphasizing high volume roads with equally high speed arterials, they can be toned down, converting into a two-way road but widening certain footpaths. They can be converted into a streetscape along parks and cafes, encouraging more public transport and pedestrian traffic.

Residential areas - Subdivisions with cabbage trees and other native plants as vegetation. A barren piece of land in the middle of the subdivision can be used as recreation area like a mini park or urban garden with trees planted along the road for some shade. Condominium units can provide spaces for window gardens and rooftop mini-forests. Rooftops and roof decks can be used as small scale solar or wind farms to supplement the city’s energy supply.

Parks - Small wetlands inside parks can be developed and restored into fishing or ornamental ponds. Mini gardens, native plant nurseries, and habitats for wild animals as well as observatories are installed. 

Office buildings - For new buildings, they should conform with LEED standards. For older buildings, mini gardens can be built just outside the lobby and along walkways. For all building, provisions for sustainable energy and wastewater management should be provided by building owners.

Urban farms - A large native plant nursery, greenhouse gardens as well as conservatories of rare exotic plant and animal species can be found in urban farms. 

This would be a daunting task for any city but with the right planning, implementation and resource, urban ecological restoration can be done effectively and efficiently. With public support, government initiative, and the expertise of partners like Rural Design, it’s possible to create a healthy green cities all over the country within our lifetime