National failing on climate change – emissions set to sky rocket

A Ministry for the Environment (MfE) report shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are on track to reach record levels in the next 15 years, meaning the National Government’s promises at the Paris Climate Conference last week are ringing hollow, the Green Party said today.

MfE’s Second Biennial Report shows climate damaging emissions in New Zealand are on-track to increase 96 percent above 1990 levels by 2030. This comes less than a week after the Government pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“The report shows that the National Government is way off-track to meet even its own weak climate target,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Just two weeks ago the National Government made a commitment in Paris to keep global warming below 2 degrees. Allowing climate damaging pollution to sky rocket in he next 15 years flies in the face of the Paris climate agreement.

“If the National Government doesn’t come up with a plan to cut emissions then future governments and generations are going to be left with an enormous mess to clean up.

“If the Government plans to buy foreign carbon credits to offset this massive emissions increase, it will place a significant burden on the economy.  

“Fixing the Emissions Trading Scheme next year is the first step to get climate pollution under control. But, New Zealand also needs serious structural changes in areas like transport, industry energy use, and waste to get anywhere near our climate target.  

“For example, we’ve seen a massive 60 percent increase in carbon pollution from transport since 1990. That’s because successive governments have only invested in motorways, and failed to provide clean public transport alternatives.

“Instead of making the changes we need, the National Government is embarking on a multi-billion dollar motorway building project which will make climate pollution even worse.

“The National Government has focused its economic strategy exclusively on  old fashioned climate polluting sectors – be it oil extraction, dairy intensification, and massive motorway building – and escalating pollution is the result.

“The Green Party has put forward a pragmatic plan for cutting domestic climate pollution that supports locally produced energy and clean sectors of the economy. The National Government should start using it,” Mrs Turei said. 

MfE report: pages 37 to 48 provide commentary on emissions projections, including the effect of various government policies.

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