Source: Auckland Council
Today’s demonstration is a message not just to government but to all of us because government alone cannot order our way out of the climate crisis. We all must change with our changing climate.
Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan outlines the immediate actions and longer-term shifts needed for us to respond together to the realities of the climate crisis. Halving our emissions by 2030 is the best path to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change; our plan can get us there if we act together.
The benefits of climate action
Reducing our emissions results in better living for everyone. We can become a resilient and healthier region and economy that is better connected to our environment and able to thrive in the face of ongoing change and disruption. We cannot do this alone. But, when we act together, we all benefit from cleaner air and water, easier commutes, access to fresh foods, and stronger communities.
Research commissioned by the council in 2019 to better understand regional climate impacts for the Auckland region showed Auckland’s mean annual temperature is rising, rainfall patterns are changing, and our coastlines are being increasingly impacted by ongoing sea level rise.
This is now an emergency, but it is one we have been planning for and adjusting to for a while. Back in 2012, Auckland committed to a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. As the science made it clearer that we have less time to act, we increased our ambitions to a 50 per cent reduction by 2030. We signed onto the C40 Paris pledge for climate action in 2016 and committed to an integrated regional climate action plan in 2017. Since declaring a climate emergency in June 2019, we have worked across industry, business, government, and community leaders to develop the clear path forward.
The roadmap for change
Now, we have a roadmap in Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan which outlines how we will get there together. We are putting the infrastructure in place to make it easier for Aucklanders to reduce their carbon footprint. Aucklanders biked past our counting sites more than 3.67 million times in FY 19/20. The City Rail Link will carry more than 54,000 people per hour during peak periods – the equivalent of 16 extra traffic lanes.
More people now commute over the Harbour Bridge in a bus than a car during rush hour.
Within Auckland Council, we are tracking and reducing our own emissions. We are improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, the electrification of our transport fleet, changing our wastewater treatment processes to capture greenhouse gases and using biogas to generate electricity.
This is a long-term approach to climate action. Each dimension of the Climate Plan has specific actions we will measure against, and we welcome the energy and accountability being requested of us from Aucklanders. The Climate Plan does not mean that every decision we make from now to 2030 will be perfect, but it gives us a way forward. We can’t meet the challenges ahead alone, but together we can protect the things we love.