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Aotearoa must accelerate climate change efforts to reach targets

ChristchurchHe Pou a Rangi, the NZ Climate Change Commission says the government must speed up attempts to become cleaner and environmentally-greener.

Current government policies do not put Aotearoa on track to meet the recommended emissions budgets and the 2050 targets, commission chair Dr Rod Carr says.

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.

To meet the commission’s proposed emissions budgets, Aotearoa does not need to rely on future technologies. As new technologies develop, this will allow the country to reduce emissions even faster, Dr Carr says.

“However, 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,” he says.

“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.

“We have 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.

“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 says 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 says 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, he says.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

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