Friday, November 06, 2009

No room for renewables under National

A couple of years ago I highlighted the findings of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology's Energy Research Roadmap [PDF], which found that our R&D spending on energy research had been consistently directed into fossil fuels rather than renewables. Fortunately, Labour moved to correct this, channelling $4 million a year into sustainable energy development. And then, there was a change of government. National doesn't believe in renewables, and doesn't believe in sustainability, and so in their first budget they cut that funding from 2011 [PDF; p 146]. Now, they've released a new "feedback document" on their research priorities. The word "renewable" doesn't appear in it once. As for energy research, it has been grouped together as "energy and minerals", with a focus on

Increas[ing] New Zealand’s wealth by identifying and exploiting hydrocarbon, mineral and other resources.
In other words, finding more coal and gas to dig up. "Short-sighted" doesn't even begin to describe it.

The document is still open for feedback for the next two weeks or so. If you'd like to let the government know their priorities are misplaced, you can do so here.