Scion welcomes climate policy report

26 March 2019

Crown research institute Scion congratulates the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on his report Farms, forests and fossil fuels: The next great landscape transformation released today.

Scion CEO Dr Julian Elder says the report’s proposal to take a “landscape approach” to managing our country’s climate and environmental issues is a message the institute is happy to hear.

“Scion has been championing the bioeconomy approach for a number of years now. As a country, we need to move from an oil-based to a ‘new’ plant-based economy. This report is a welcome endorsement of an alternative approach to land use and development of zero carbon technology.

“Transitioning to a low-emissions circular bioeconomy offers a significant opportunity for New Zealand. If we were to embrace this approach, New Zealand could have competitive advantage in a global move towards this new economy.

“Our “Right tree, right place, right purpose strategy to 2030” aims to recast New Zealand’s forest industry to create a more sustainable and uniquely kiwi way of living in a low-carbon biobased future.

“As New Zealand adapts to a world living with the effects of climate change, science will have a critical role in solving new problems that arise and to support a countrywide transition to a new economy focussed on renewable resources and sustainable design,” says Dr Elder.

Scion has been developing new bioproducts with renewable resources since 2006 ranging from making biodegradable plastics to producing biofuels from trees.

Science, deep learning and outside-the-box thinking can create solutions to nationwide problems such as how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy. Energy was responsible for 40.5 per cent of New Zealand’s GHG emissions in 2015, the second largest contributor after agriculture. 

Scion’s research shows that if we swap just 30 per cent of our petroleum-based liquid fuel for cleaner, greener biofuel, we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the equivalent of taking half the cars off the road. 

On the East Coast alone this would involve planting one and a half times more trees and investing $1 billion into infrastructure, creating 1,000 new jobs.