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UN group to assess false claims of net-zero efforts, Dr Carr says

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Otautahi – New Zealand’s Dr Rod Carr has just completed a two day meeting of the United Nations high level expert group advising the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on their progress.

The secretary general had just returned from Pakistan where climate change induced flooding is covering a third of the country which has displaced over 30 million people. 

“During the briefing with the 18 member expert group, the secretary general reminded our group of the importance of our work in assessing the credibility of non-state actor claims to be net zero or on a pathway to net zero,” Dr Carr says.

“Evidence is mounting every day that the scientists are right and have been right for decades.

“Rising sea levels, ocean acidification, ocean warming, melting ice at the poles, glaciers receding, record high temperatures on land, record breaking droughts, inland inundation, changing migration patterns for birds, insects, mammals and fish, increased frequency and intensity of wild fires, mounting insurance losses and rising premiums are all symptoms of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Eighty percent of the problem is caused by the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and fossil gas into the open air.

“Claims of net zero, if not robust and scientifically accurate, are doing great harm by misleading investors, consumers and regulators.”

Dr Carr’s view is that those making such claims should have the same accountability as they would have under consumer protection and financial markets regulation. Misleading statements about climate impacts are not merely advertising puffery.

The UN high level expert group is due to provide its report to the UN secretary general ahead of the COP 27 conference which starts in Egypt on November 6.

Meanwhile, sea levels around Aotearoa have risen at a faster rate in recent decades compared with the first half of last century, Stats NZ says.

Their recently updated environmental indicator coastal sea-level rise, shows relative annual sea levels have risen faster over the last 60 years at four coastal monitoring sites throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Future climate change projections indicate that sea levels will continue to rise. Rising sea

levels affect coastal communities, infrastructure, coastal habitats, and biodiversity, Stats NZ says.

Sea levels rose faster over the last 60 years, 1961 to 2020, compared with the previous 60 years, 1901 to 1960, at four main sites with records dating back to the 1890s and 1900s: Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton and Dunedin.

The rate of sea-level rise has doubled in the last 60 years, compared with the mean rate from when records first began through to 1960.

Of the locations which have been monitored for over 120 years, Lyttelton near Christchurch showed the highest long-term trend in relative sea-level rise of the four sites at 2.24mm/year.

Meanwhile, between 1961 and 2020 the largest increase in the rate of annual mean sea-level rise of all the monitoring sites was observed in Wellington.

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