Climate change — tradies have choices

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Terry Sage writes about subsidising EVs (Building Today July 2021), but what he is talking about is paying for the pollution from high emitting vehicles.

Mr Sage is guilty of spreading misinformation by calling it a Ute Tax as it doesn’t just apply to utes. Any car that uses a lot of fuel (emitting a lot of carbon) will have to pay a fee in recognition of its additional pollution.

People buying new fossil Porsches will have to pay just as much as those who choose to buy a brand new 4WD double cab ute instead of a hybrid or electric van for a work vehicle.

Yes, tradies already have choices — you can get discounts on low emission plug-in hybrid and zero-emission electric vans and light trucks that many find are better than a double cab ute for work.

You can get a plug-in hybrid Ford Transit at a discount now, you can buy a zero emissions LDV van with a 1.1 tonne payload (isn’t that a bigger payload than your ute Terry?) or an LDV cab-chassis to build your own custom vehicle — with zero emissions and a rebate paid for by those who insist on buying new polluters.

It seems to me builders can have materials delivered by suppliers rather than wasting valuable time in traffic — you actually don’t need to pull heavy trailers of gravel and timber much of the time. Aren’t your skills better spent on the tools than in traffic?

Farmers and rural contractors, who really do need off-road-capable 4WD utes for work, have been given six months to buy a new one with no fees attached.

And by the time that vehicle needs to be replaced, there will be low or zero-emission versions available.

Have you seen the pre-production versions of Ford’s Electric F150 set that can pull a loaded goods train and power a building site from its batteries? And buying a second-hand vehicle off someone else, like most of us do, will not be subject to any fees or rebates.

Opponents of the Clean Car Feebate scheme are noticeably quiet on what they would do to encourage people out of their “Remuera tractors”, and quiet on what they would do to reduce our transport emissions that have increased 93% since 1990.

I don’t know about you Terry, but I was taught to leave a place in a better condition than when I found it. We are in serious danger of leaving the planet much worse than we found it unless we really pull finger.

We cannot expect to ease gently into stopping climate change — we actually have to make changes, significant changes, and right away.

We’ve kicked this can down the road for so long, avoiding doing anything to stop climate change emissions, that now we have to do a lot straight away.

And before you say our emissions don’t matter as they are so small compared to China — our emissions do matter, just as much as the emissions from any grouping of five million people matter.

In fact, our emissions matter more, as our per capita emissions are amongst the highest in the world — twice that of China which produces so much of the stuff for the world now, eight times that of India, and not much different to that of the USA.

Peter Olorenshaw
Architect, Nelson

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