Aotearoa Must Accelerate Climate Change Efforts

The government must speed up attempts to become cleaner and environmentally-greener and current government policies do not put Aotearoa on track to meet the recommended emissions budgets and the 2050 targets, according to He Pou a Rangi, the NZ Climate Change Commission.

The government has committed to reaching net-zero emissions of long-lived gases by 2050 and to reducing biogenic methane emissions by between 24 to 47 percent by 2050.

“The government must pick up the pace. Aotearoa will not meet its targets without strong and decisive action now to drive low emissions technologies and behaviour change across all sectors. 2050 is not far away,” commented Carr.

“Aotearoa must focus on decarbonising and reducing emissions at the source. As a country, we can no longer rely on forests to meet our climate change targets. Current government policies do not put Aotearoa on track to meet our recommended emissions budgets and the 2050 targets.”

Carr went on to explain that the Commission has recommended 17 critical actions the government must take to reach its climate goals. Many of them include indicators the Commission will use to monitor the government’s progress.

“Government needs a strategy that includes water, biodiversity and climate. There are multiple benefits to taking a holistic view of how we use and protect our land,” he continued.

“There are changes farmers can make to reduce emissions while maintaining, or even improving, productivity. Pine trees will still play an important role in getting to 2050 and could support a future bioeconomy, as bioenergy to replace fossil fuels and as timber for building.”

The Commission noted that existing forests, small blocks of trees, soils and wetlands can all store more carbon. Native forests can create a long-term carbon sink while providing a range of other benefits, such as improving biodiversity and erosion control. Incentives are needed to get more native trees planted.

Dr Carr concluded that Aotearoa needs to fundamentally change the way it deals with and thinks about waste. Creating a self-sustaining economy will reduce Aotearoa’s waste emissions and cut biogenic methane emissions.